At professional conferences and workshops, the Project 2061 team shared their findings this spring and summer with a wide range of scientists, educators, and researchers. In a symposium at the annual conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching in Baltimore, the team provided an inside look at the opportunities and challenges of developing curriculum materials that support Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) by drawing on experiences from their own high school biology curriculum development project. They also presented findings from a multi-year effort to investigate how linguistic features of science test items might affect the performance of students who are English learners.
Sessions at the American Educational Research Association conference in Toronto also highlighted Project 2061’s work in curriculum and assessment development. In one session the Project 2061 team presented results from an evaluation of the promise of its high school biology curriculum unit Matter and Energy for Growth and Activity. A second session focused on a Project 2061 study to investigate the difference in using multiple choice and constructed response test items to assess students’ science knowledge.
More than 80 middle and high school biology teachers, science and curriculum specialists, and other administrators prepared for the new school year by participating in Project 2061 workshops. Hosted by AAAS in Washington, DC, and by partners at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, the New York City chapter of Teach for America, and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the workshops focused on the role that curriculum materials can play in helping implement NGSS in the classroom. Participants had a chance to explore Project 2061’s middle and high school curriculum units, which served as examples of materials that are well-aligned to NGSS. Together, the two units—Toward High School Biology for middle school and Matter and Energy for Growth and Activity for high school—offer 20 weeks of instruction aimed at helping students build a coherent understanding of matter and energy in living organisms. Both units are published by NSTA Press. A set of PowerPoint slides from the workshop can be accessed here.