M. Nachshon1, A. Rom2

1Oranim Academic College of Education (ISRAEL)
2The Open University of Israel (ISRAEL)
The Science for All curriculum is a program for high school students who are not specializing in science, providing them with scientific knowledge and thinking skills essential in daily lives. The program combines the process of learning scientific ideas, and the acquisition of study skills and learning with experiencing diverse learning methods while facilitating expression of students’ varied talents, and their evaluation through two methods: examinations and portfolios.

The portfolio comprises a collection of works, reflecting students’ different learning styles, and expressing the deep involvement of students in the learning process. The process of assignment completion is accompanied by a continual dialogue that is documented in writing and by the reflection of both the student and the teacher about the process.

At the end of every academic year, the Science for All program uses trained evaluators to check the quality of teachers’ work via the output of their students. The present study uses data from random sampling done in 2012-2013. Each year about 60 portfolios submitted by around 30 teachers are checked and evaluated. The research presents the essential components in random sampling, which reflect the pedagogical conduct and the teaching behavior of teaching in accordance with the pedagogical outlook of Science for All: the element of evaluation, including relating to the evaluation’s validity and reliability, the degree of variation in assignments and the opportunity for independent thinking by the student. The importance placed on these teaching components is in line with the view of the cognitive component being a dominant element in teaching: teachers must be able to provide deep explanations for their decisions, explanations that are based on solid knowledge, and they must develop cognitive awareness in their students, so that their students will be cognizant of the thinking and learning processes they are experiencing.

The present research demonstrates that teaching performance and pedagogical conduct are expressed in different ways. The significant change in teaching conduct stems from the improvement in teachers’ ability to deepen the way they teach scientific concepts. An improvement was also seen in pedagogical conduct but these changes are minor.

As a result of the random sampling evaluation process, a ‘mapping of evaluation components’ document was compiled. This document includes the evaluation profile of the course components in accordance with the components known in advance and presented in the portfolio, and the evaluation profile of the teacher’s work in line with these components.

In addition, the findings serve to indicate what type of continuing education courses are required by teachers in the system. In the survey of assimilation of the Science for All curriculum and its adaption to the student population, it appears that the established pedagogical outlook, the use of standardized evaluation methods, the continual and fixed feedback process on the personal levels of the student and teacher and on the systemic level, the ongoing interaction with the field, and especially, the guarantee of evaluation process and quality assurance of the evaluation—all increase the probability that the program will be assimilated.

The research findings indicate that investing in teachers both through instruction and continual education is the optimal way to enhance teachers’ teaching and the pedagogical process.