Project 2061 Research & Development Initiatives

AAAS Science Assessment WebsiteScience educators have easy access to more than 700 high-quality multiple choice items for testing middle and high school students' understanding of 16 important topics in earth, life, and physical science and the nature of science. The website also presents data on the state of science learning by gender and whether or not English is the student’s primary language. An online testing feature lets users select items, assemble them into tests, and administer and score the tests online. Development of the items and the website was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Green Schools as a Context for Science Learning – What opportunities do school buildings themselves provide for helping students develop a scientific foundation for making choices about energy resources and their use? In this exploratory study funded by the National Science Foundation, Project 2061 is gathering data from the field on the feasibility of such an approach and what it might look like. Contact: George DeBoer, Principal Investigator, gdeboer@aaas.org

Improving Science Assessment for English Learners (ELs) – In a new study funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, researchers at AAAS Project 2061 and WestEd will examine a large set of science assessment items to identify linguistic factors that may account for EL students’ underperformance on tests when compared to non-EL students and propose strategies for improving the items. Findings from the study will be particularly timely, given the need for new assessments that are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and for more effective measures of what students know regardless of their English language status.  Contact: George DeBoer, Principal Investigator, gdeboer@aaas.org

Measuring Students’ Understanding of Energy - Energy issues are central to modern life, so all students need to develop a strong understanding of basic energy concepts. A first step is finding out what they already know, how their understanding builds over time, and what conceptual difficulties they are having and why. With a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Project 2061 is designing assessment instruments to evaluate students’ energy knowledge across a range of topics at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Contact: Cari Herrmann-Abell, Principal Investigator, cabell@aaas.org  

New Tools for Teaching Evolution – Working with the Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah, Project 2061 is developing an innovative curriculum unit and assessments to help high schoolers understand core ideas about evolution through mathematical reasoning and data analysis. Contact:  Jo Ellen Roseman, Principal Investigator, jroseman@aaas.org

Toward High School Biology – With support from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, AAAS Project 2061 is collaborating with BSCS to develop and test an innovative six-week curriculum unit designed to integrate physical and life science concepts to help middle school students understand chemical reactions and their role in the growth and repair of living organisms. Field test results show that students using the new unit, which is designed to align with the three dimensions of science learning called for in the Next Generation Science Standards, have shown significant learning gains. Contact:  Jo Ellen Roseman, Principal Investigator, jroseman@aaas.org

WeatherSchool@AAAS.org – This online tool lets students analyze patterns in real-world data collected by weather stations, satellites, and other observation sites on land and sea. Supported by NASA and NOAA, this effort is also producing assessments educators can use to get a better picture of what students know and don’t know about weather and climate concepts. Contact: George DeBoer, Co-Principal Investigator, gdeboer@aaas.org