SPIR Reviews are Comprehensive
What will our review actually include?
What the review covers
- The review is conducted using NSTA’s Science Program Improvement Review’s Standards for High-Quality Science Programs, which address every aspect of the system that affects student achievement in science, kindergarten through 12th grade.
- The final report will cover all the standards and objectives, reported for both overall results and for each individually sampled school. Trends and possible cause/effect relationships will be discussed and priorities for next steps will be suggested.
Processes for review
Documentation for the review is accomplished through nine processes:
- Work session with the district leadership team: Those responsible for policy making and implementation support for the science program meet with a reviewer to discuss each standard and provide information and documentation. This session provides an important first step for understanding how to use the review results to inform the analysis, planning, and actions that will follow. Full participation and frank assessments will provide the most valuable results. Participants receive directions in advance to prepare for the session.
- Classroom observations at selected schools: Sample schools are selected in consultation between district leaders and NSTA staff to represent a fair picture of districtwide practices. Reviewers visit classrooms to observe teaching and learning, guided by descriptions by the teachers of the context and purpose of the observed lesson.
- Surveys of teachers: These surveys are designed to be completed online by at least the teachers at the sample schools. They probe instructional practices and teachers’ assessments of progress toward best practices, and are an important complement to the classroom observations.
- Focus group discussion with teachers at each selected school: Site reviewers meet with teachers on the day of the review for a 45-minute session.
- Surveys of students: Online or paper surveys are completed by students at the sample schools to probe their attitudes toward the science program and elements of the learning experiences. Young students’ surveys are designed to be done with help from a parent or aide.
- Focus group discussion with students at each selected school: Site reviewers meet with a group (or groups) of students selected by the school to discuss the science program in a 45-minute session.
- Survey of parents and community members: Online or paper surveys distributed by the selected schools probe community engagement with, knowledge of, and satisfaction with the science program.
- Focus group discussion with parents’ advisory committee: Only when such a committee exists, site reviewers meet with this group in a 45-minute session.
- Work session with school leaders: Site reviewers meet with the principal(s) and science program leaders or coaches to discuss key standards for which the school is mainly responsible and provide any documentation available at the school level. Participants receive directions in advance to prepare for the session.