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Designing Mathematics or Science Curriculum Programs: A Guide for Using Mathematics and Science Education Standards Appendix A IMPLEMENTING A MATHEMATICS OR SCIENCE CURRICULUM PROGRAM This report primarily describes the elements of a coherent curriculum program and suggests a process for its development. If the program is then to impact student learning, a number of activities must be undertaken to give life to the curriculum program through well-supported practice in all K-12 classrooms. This appendix provides a few suggestions, with a minimum of discussion, for this implementation. Particularly helpful will be the reports and studies cited here. Support the Implementation of the Curriculum Program with Extensive Professional Development13 The information needed to plan full-scale implementation can be derived not only from the process used to develop the curriculum program but also from the additional processes, described in the report, of building consensus for and pilot testing the program. Typically, the implementation plan will contain the following activities14: Continued use of the information dissemination strategies of the consensus-building process noted in this report on pg. 44 to inform staff of the schedule and nature of the implementation activities and professional development they will be involved in; Engagement of principals and department chairs (middle and secondary level) in professional development to inform them of the nature of the new program and the results of the pilot test, as well as the following — the decisions they will need to make concerning procedures and timelines for implementation in their respective buildings, the availability and type of professional development to which their teachers will have access, the costs and sources (designers, 13 The nature and order of the activities listed, although briefly stated, are part of an overarching strategy based on the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) framework for understanding and responding to the concerns of teachers engaged in adopting an innovation (Hord et al., 1987). 14 An excellent resource is Science for All Children: A Guide to Improving Elementary Science Education in Your School District (NSRC, 1997).
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Designing Mathematics or Science Curriculum Programs: A Guide for Using Mathematics and Science Education Standards publishers) of instructional materials, kits, and equipment, the support systems available to them and their teachers, suggested ways of informing parents about the program and implementation, the impact that the new program will have on the teacher evaluation process, and plans for student and program assessment; Identification and purchase of the instructional materials, related kits, and equipment (Sources and methods of re-supplying expendable materials should be included in the implementation plan.); and Planning and execution of professional development experiences for teachers. (A comprehensive treatment of this important topic is available.)15 Develop and Maintain Ongoing Support and Partnerships in the Community As important as developing consensus among district teachers and administrators is the task of developing support from and partnerships with various members of the community. These include parents of students in the school system, the non-parental public in the community, and representatives of local businesses and industry, local corporations, universities, professional organizations, science-related agencies, and museums. Develop and Implement a Program for Assessing and Reporting Student Achievement The wide range of reasons for examining student achievement include helping teachers improve their instruction and the achievement of their students; providing teachers with a basis for assigning grades: assist teachers and administrators with decisions about tracking, promotion, and graduation; informing students, parents, and the general public about how well students are achieving; and assisting in monitoring the quality of teaching, the effectiveness of the curriculum program, and other ''opportunity to learn" factors (such as infrastructure support, supplies and materials availability, facilities, and so on). The role of assessment is much broader than the assignment of grades 15 See Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics (Loucks-Horsley et al., 1998).
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Designing Mathematics or Science Curriculum Programs: A Guide for Using Mathematics and Science Education Standards and other critical decisions about students, such as promotion and tracking. Even this traditional role for student assessment is often misunderstood and misused. (See High Stakes Testing for Tracking, Promotion, and Graduation [NRC, 1999a] for a careful analysis of the issues of high stakes testing that can have a major impact on students' lives.) When student assessment is considered as feedback, it is an effective means of improving student learning (Black & Wiliam, 1998) and the quality of teaching and the curriculum program. (See the NSES "Assessment Standards" [NRC, 1996b] for a discussion of the uses of assessment.) Of particular importance to this guide is the use of student assessment data coupled with other information in the evaluation of coherence and accessibility in the curriculum program. Quality assessment for any of these purposes depends on the availability of effective instruments, procedures, and performance standards (see the description of performance standards on pg. 21 of this report), in addition to content standards. When performance standards do not formally exist, teachers must decide what it is that they expect students to know, understand, or be able to do. If district-wide assessment items are being developed, these become informal performance expectations. The pervasive need for explicit performance standards that align with content standard expectations argues for inclusion of performance standards in the curriculum program. If these standards are not included in the initial design of the curriculum program, teachers and the assessment developers will need additional professional development to assist them in understanding how assessment tasks and scoring guides are developed and how performance standards are established. Equipped with the ability to define and decide when a content standard has been met, teachers will be equipped to use assessment as a powerful means to improve their instruction and student learning.
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