Aurora University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 145-150
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
Our small university was awarded an Illinois Mathematics and Science Partnership grant for the improvement of mathematics and science education at the elementary level. Partnering with an engineering firm's center for application based learning, a children's science and technology museum, the state mathematics and science academy, and a center for health education, as well as three local high need school districts, a design team that also included professors from the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences developed a three year Masters Degree program in Teacher Leadership in Elementary Mathematics and Science Education. The program included eighteen semester hours in Mathematics and Science content courses and eighteen hours of Teacher Leadership courses including action research and an internship in the content field. The goals were to improve participants content knowledge in mathematics and science, to enable them to become teacher leaders in the fields of mathematics and science within their schools and districts, and to encourage an interest and proficiency in science, technology, engineering and mathematics among the participant's students.

Courses included field experiences using GPS technology during which and Eastern Newt, a species never before recorded within our county was identified, inquiry based laboratory experience both in and out of the classroom, concept building and innovative mathematics courses, and field trips to centers of mathematics and science application and education. Cutting edge educational technology was implemented in the university classroom, and supplied for the teachers to use in their own classrooms. Each semester seminars were held for the participants to interact with leaders in the fields of mathematics, science, engineering and education.

Program benchmarks included content knowledge, instructional resources, teaching strategies, and classroom technology. A variety of instruments and means were used to evaluate the program's impact. These included the nationally normed VNOS and VOSI tests, the Mosart Physics test, the Diagnostic Teacher Assessment of Mathematics and Science (DTAMS) in Rational Numbers and Life Science, the Survey of Enacted Curriculum (SEC) and the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOPS) for classroom observation. Also included were focus groups, teacher reflections, pre- and post content tests, and course grades. Illinois State Achievement Test (ISAT) scores were used to evaluate the program's effect on the students of the participants.

Results include Considerably Significant Effect Size improvement in the DTAMS Life Science (1.39) and Rational Numbers (1.30),consistent improvement in RTOPS scores, and an increase in breadth and depth of curriculum taught in the classroom as measured by the SEC. Further results will be available at the time of the conference. Perhaps most important was the improvement of the ISAT scores for children in the participants' classrooms, also considerably significant effect size. (1.05). In addition, each teacher was eligible for the state's teacher leadership endorsement at the conclusion of the program. Many participants had become recognized teacher leaders in their districts serving as curriculum leaders and mentoring other faculty, as well as developing community programs in mathematics and science for students and their families.

Partnership, Mathematics and Science Education, Elementary.