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Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools - Report of the Content Panel for Biology As noted, however, the panel believes several recent developments have created a more favorable climate for the implementation of the recommendations presented in this report: National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996a) and its recent practical addendum, Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 2000a), are beginning to have an impact on biology teaching at all levels. Recent results of research on cognition and learning are becoming more widely disseminated and accepted, particularly since being made more accessible in two recent NRC reports—How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School (National Research Council, 1999) and its practical companion volume How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice (National Research Council, 2000b). The vast potential of the Internet for disseminating free information, ideas, and educational resources of all kinds to teachers and students is just beginning to be exploited. There is currently a general awareness among the American public that the education of the nation’s scientists in particular must be improved markedly if the United States is to compete effectively in the global economy. This raised consciousness is reflected in other recent studies besides the present one; an example is the recent impressive report of the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century, chaired by former Senator John Glenn (National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century. 2000). Three solid findings about how humans learn can make a big difference if used to drive course design and teaching. The principles of adapting instruction to students’ current knowledge, monitoring students’ conceptual development continuously, and integrating metacognitive tasks and skills (self-assessment by students of their own levels of understanding) with active learning of science content have great potential to improve the process of education in biology as well as in other sciences. The panel believes that with the above resources to back up the current efforts of reformers, it should be possible to bring about systemic changes in the way biology is taught at all levels and, in the process, to improve the effectiveness of AP and IB Biology courses in the ways recommended herein. REFERENCES Commission on the Future of the Advanced Placement Program. 2001. Access to Excellence: The Report of the Commission on the Future of the Advanced Placement Program. New York: The College Board.. Educational Testing Service, Advanced Placement Program Course Description: Biology, May 2000, May 2001, The College Board. 1999: Educational Testing Service. Hurd, P.D. 1961. Biology Education in American Secondary Schools. BSCS Bulletin #1. Baltimore: AIBS/Waverly Press.
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Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools - Report of the Content Panel for Biology International Baccalaureate Organisation. 1996. International Baccalaureate Biology. Geneva, Switzerland: International Baccalaureate Organization. Morgan, R. and L. Ramist. 1998. Advanced Placement Students in College: An Investigation of Course Grades at 21 Colleges. ETS Report # SR-98-13. National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century. 2000. Before It’s Too Late: A Report to the Nation from the. Washington, D.C.: U. S. Department of Education. National Research Council. 1990. Fulfilling the Promise: Biology Education in the Nation’s Schools. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. National Research Council. 1996a. National Science Education Standards. National Committee on Science Education Standards and Assessment, ed. R.D. Klausner and B. Alberts. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 262 pp. National Research Council, 1996b. The Role of Scientists in the Professional Development of Science Teachers, Committee on Biology Teacher Inservice Programs. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 256 pp. National Research Council. 1999. How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning, ed. J.D. Bransford, A.L. Brown, and R.R. Cocking. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 319 pp. National Research Council. 2000a. Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A Guide for Teaching and Learning. Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 202 pp. National Research Council 2000b. How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice. Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning, ed. J.D. Bransford, A.L. Brown, and R.R. Cocking. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Shenk, D., Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut. 1997, San Francisco: Harper.
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Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools - Report of the Content Panel for Biology Appendix A Charge to the Biology Panel from the Parent Committee Charge to the Parent Committee and Content Panels: The charge to the Committee is to consider the effectiveness of, and potential improvements to, programs for advanced study of mathematics and science in American high schools. In response to the charge, the committee will consider the two most widely recognized programs for advanced study: the Advanced Placement (AP) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) programs. In addition, the committee will identify and examine other appropriate curricular and instructional alternatives to IB and AP. Emphasis will be placed on the mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology programs of study. Charge to Content Panels: The content panels are asked to evaluate the AP and IB curricular, instructional, and assessment materials for their specific disciplines. Below is a list of questions that the content panels will use to examine the curriculum, laboratory experiences, and student assessments for their specific subject areas. The content panels will use these questions to issue a report to the Committee about the effectiveness of the AP and IB programs for educating able high school students in their respective disciplines. In answering these questions, the content panels should keep in mind the Committee’s charge and study questions. The panels should focus on the following specific issues in advising the Committee: I. CURRICULAR AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORKS FOR LEARNING Research on cognition suggests that learning and understanding are facilitated when students: (1) have a strong foundation of background knowledge, (2) are taught and understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, and (3) learn how to organize information to facilitate retrieval and application in new contexts (see, e.g., Bramsford et al., 1999; handouts in packet). To what degree do the AP and IB programs incorporate current knowledge about cognition and learning in mathematics and science in their curricula, instructions, and assessments?
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Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools - Report of the Content Panel for Biology To what degree is the factual base of information that is provided by the AP and IB curricula and related laboratory experiences adequate for advanced high school study in your discipline? Based on your evaluation of the materials that you received, to what extent do the AP and IB curricula and assessments balance breadth of coverage with in-depth study of important topics in the subject area? In your opinion, is this balance an appropriate one for advanced high school learners? Are there key concepts (big ideas) of your discipline around which factual information and ideas should be organized to promote conceptual understanding in advanced study courses (e.g., Newton’s Laws in physics)? To what degree are the AP and IB curricula and related laboratory experiences organized around these identified key concepts? To what degree do the AP and IB curricula and related laboratory experiences provide opportunities for students to apply their knowledge to a range of problems and in a variety of contexts? To what extent do the AP and IB curricula and related laboratory experiences encourage students and teachers to make connections among the various disciplines in science and mathematics? II. THE ROLE OF ASSESSMENT Research and experience indicate that assessments of student learning play a key role in determining what and how teachers teach and what and how students learn. Based on your evaluation of the IB and AP final assessments and accompanying scoring guides and rubrics, evaluate to what degree these assessments measure or emphasize: students’ mastery of content knowledge; students’ understanding and application of concepts; and students’ ability to apply what they have learned to other courses and in other situations. To what degree do the AP and IB final assessments assess student mastery of your disciplinary subject at a level that is consistent with expectations for similar courses that are taught at the college level? III. TEACHING Research and experience indicate that learning is facilitated when teachers use a variety of techniques that are purposefully selected to achieve particular learning goals.
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Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools - Report of the Content Panel for Biology How effectively do the AP and IB curricula and assessments encourage teachers to use a variety of teaching techniques (e.g., lecture, discussion, laboratory experience and independent investigation)? What preparation is needed to effectively teach advanced mathematics and science courses such as AP and IB? IV. EMPHASES The National Science Education Standards and the NCTM Standards 2000 propose that the emphases of science and mathematics education should change in particular ways (see supplemental materials). To what degree do the AP and IB programs reflect the recommendations in these documents? V. PREPARATION FOR FURTHER STUDY Advanced study at the high school level is often viewed as preparation for continued study at the college level or as a substitute for introductory-level college courses. To what extent do the AP and IB curricula, assessments, and related laboratory experiences in your discipline serve as adequate and appropriate bases for success in college courses beyond the introductory level? To what degree do the AP and IB programs in your discipline reflect changes in knowledge or approaches that are emerging (or have recently occurred) in your discipline? How might coordination between secondary schools and institutions of higher education be enhanced to optimize student learning and continued interest in the discipline?
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Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools - Report of the Content Panel for Biology Appendix B Comparison of Specifics in the IB And AP Course Outlines and Corresponding Examination Questions The IB program has a detailed course outline and prescription for the depth of teaching. While the AP program may demand the same depth or more through its assessment, it is not clearly evident in the course outline. Example—Cell membrane architecture: IB specifically requires teaching of the fluid mosaic model: phospholipid bilayer, cholesterol, glycoproteins, and intrinsic and extrinsic proteins. The course must include how amphipathic phospholipids maintain membrane structure, but nothing about what the intrinsic proteins are (e.g., receptors for cell signaling). AP instructs the teacher to cover the “current model of the molecular architecture of membranes.” Example—Cell membrane transport: IB specifically requires defining diffusion and osmosis and describing passive transport, including osmosis (permeability, non- and partial permeability). IB also mandates that students be able to describe active transport across membranes, including the roles of protein carriers, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and a concentration gradient. Students are expected to know about carrier-assisted transport and the importance of favorable concentration gradients for facilitated transport; to predict conditions for active transport with examples; to understand membrane pumps without biochemical details; and to compare endocytosis and exocytosis, phagocytosis and pinocytosis, and vesicle-mediated transport. Students must also be able to explain the dynamic relationships among the nuclear membrane, rough endoplasmic reticulum Golgi apparatus, and cell surface membrane. They must be able to describe ways in which vesicles are used to transport materials within a cell and to the cell surface, as well as membrane proteins and their positions within membranes. (Students can use a series of diagrams to demonstrate structure relationships and how materials are moved. They must know about channel proteins and the flow of materials through channels or vesicles. Knowledge of the chemical nature of materials is not required. Mention of pores and the fact that some intrinsic proteins are anchored is also expected.) Students should be able to outline the
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Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools - Report of the Content Panel for Biology functions of membrane proteins as antibody recognition sites, hormone binding sites, catalysts for biochemical reactions, and sites of electron carriers. (Again, nothing is included about the most important class—receptors for cell signaling—except in the oblique reference to hormone binding sites.) AP requires that students be able to detail how the structural organization of membranes provides for transport and recognition and the mechanisms by which substances cross membranes. They must also address how variations in the structure account for functional differences among membranes. Questions on the AP and IB exams are comparable in the degree of detail expected. Examples—AP exam questions related to cell membranes (May 1999 exam, series of questions based on an illustration): 17. Membranes are components of all of the following except a (A) microtubule (B) nucleus (C) Golgi apparatus (D) mitochondrion (E) lysosome 31. All of the following are typical components of the plasma membrane of a eukaryotic cell EXCEPT (A) glycoproteins (B) cytochromes (C) cholesterol (D) phospholipids (E) integral proteins 61. Which of the following cellular processes is coupled with the hydrolysis of ATP? (A) Facilitated diffusion (B) Active transport (C) Chemiosmosis (D) Osmosis (E) Na+ influx into a nerve cell Questions 114–116 refer to an experiment in which a dialysis-tubing bag is filled with a mixture of 3 percent starch and 3 percent glucose and placed in a beaker of distilled water, as shown below. After 3 hours, glucose can be detected in the water outside of the dialysis-tubing bag, but starch cannot. 114. From the initial conditions and results described, which of the following is a logical conclusion? (A) The initial concentration of glucose in the bag is higher than the initial concentration of starch in the bag. (B) The pores of the bag are larger than the glucose molecules but smaller than the starch molecules. (C) The bag is not selectively permeable. (D) A net movement of water into the beaker has occurred. (E) The molarity of the solution in the bag and the molarity of the solution in the surrounding beaker are the same.
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Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools - Report of the Content Panel for Biology 115. Which of the following best describes the conditions expected after 24 hours? (A) The bag will contain more water than it did in the original condition. (B) The contents of the bag will have the same osmotic concentration as the surrounding solution. (C) Water potential in the bag will be greater than water potential in the surrounding solution. (D) Starch molecules will continue to pass through the bag. (E) A glucose test on the solution in the bag will be negative. 116. If, instead of the bag, a potato slice were placed in a beaker of distilled water, which of the following would be true of the potato slice? (A) It would gain mass. (B) It would neither gain nor lose mass. (C) It would absorb solutes from the surrounding liquid. (D) It would lose water until water potential inside the cells is equal to zero. (E) The cells of the potato would increase their metabolic activity. Essay: Communication occurs among cells in a multicellular organism. Choose THREE of the following examples of cell-to-cell communication, and for each example, describe the communication that occurs and the types of responses that result from the communication. Communication between two plant cells. Communication between two immune cells. Communication either between a neuron and another neuron, or between a neuron and a muscle cell. Communication between a specific endocrine-gland cell and its target cell. Examples—IB questions related to cell membranes: [November 1999 Paper One (multiple choice), #2]: 2. The cells of plant roots can take up ions from the soil against the concentration gradient. What is the process used? (A) Osmosis. (B) Passive transport. (C) Diffusion. (E) Carrier-assisted transport. [November 1999 Paper Two]: Part A (Extended Response) #2 A. Draw the structure of a nephron. B. Identify where most active transport occurs and identify one specific location where active transport occurs in plants. C. Define water potential. D. Explain the process of water uptake in roots by osmosis. E. List three abiotic factors which affect the rate of transpiration in a typical terrestrial mesophytic plant. Part B (Extended Response) A. List three functions of lipids. B. Outline the production of ATP by chemiosmosis in the mitrochondrion. C. Explain the process of muscle contraction.
Representative terms from entire chapter: