Pennsylvania: Student Outcomes in a Local Systemic Change Project
ASSET, Inc. is an organization that promotes hands-on, inquiry-based science instruction for kindergarten through sixth grade students in Pennsylvania. Released items from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) were used to create a reliable and objective assessment instrument providing national and international comparison data.
72 schools with fifth graders in the 29 participating ASSET school districts were divided into two cohorts: fifth graders who have been taught by ASSET-trained teachers using the curriculum modules for 3 to 5 years (cohort 1), and fifth graders who were in the program for 1 to 2 years (cohort 2). ASSET students' performance was not significantly different from those of international students. These results suggest that, on questions addressing topics covered in ASSET modules, ASSET fifth graders perform as well as seventh graders in high-performing countries.
Cohort 1 students scored half a standard deviation higher than their Cohort 2 counterparts. The results of this study indicate that the ASSET project has had an impact on student science learning. This is attributable at least in part to districts using quality science curriculum materials that focus on a limited number of concepts and skills.
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