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NSTA Executive Director Named Co-Chair of Steering Committee to Revamp NAEP Science Assessment Framework

The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) has named Gerald Wheeler, NSTA Executive Director, as co-chair of the project steering committee to develop the new science assessment framework for the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). He will serve along side Rolf Blank, Director of Education Indicators Program for the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The 15-month project will be lead by WestEd, a nonprofit research, development, and service organization that was awarded a $1.3 million contract by NAGB to develop the new framework and specifications for the science assessment, which is scheduled to begin in 2009.

Considered the nation's report card, NAEP tests student achievement in grades 4, 8, and 12. The current NAEP science framework was adopted by NAGB 13 years ago and will be used again this winter in the assessment set for
January-March 2005. The framework will be updated to reflect current research and thinking in science. According to Charles E. Smith, NAGB Executive Director, "We want to consider the best research available and hear a wide range of views to help the Board decide how NAEP will assess science in the future."

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS) also will collaborate with NSTA and CCSSO to ensure wide input from scientists, teachers, state education officials, and interested members of the public. To read a press release issued by NAGB, go to http://www.nagb.org.


Public School Science Teacher Makes Popular Science's List of "Worst Jobs in Science"

Popular Science magazine has again published its "Worst Jobs in Science," which this year includes...you guessed it...public school science teacher, which landed 13th on the list. Written in an entertaining—and at times grossly descriptive manner—the article contained a profile of Arizona science teacher, Howard Ruffner, who was asked to teach science with "no budget, no equipment, no lab." NSTA is quoted in the story, which highlights the lack of attention being given to science education. To read all about the jobs on the list—which include landfill monitor, tick dragger, and Iraqi archeologist—go to http://www.popsci.com/popsci/science/article/0,20967,713471,00.html.


Introducing Innovations in Science Education, an NSTA Express Special Feature

Everyone knows that quality science education programs-both inside and outside the science classroom-are key to increased student achievement. These initiatives may involve other teachers and core subjects, or maybe local business groups, scientists, informal science institutions, or other K-12 science and math education stakeholders. They may be in a neighboring state—or halfway across the country—but they usually have one thing in common: Many teachers are constantly on the lookout for them.

So how can you learn more about innovative ideas and programs in science education that are really making a difference? NSTA is committed to promoting excellence and innovation in science education teaching and learning for all. We also like to share, so we are introducing Innovations in Science Education. Every few weeks in NSTA Express, we will a feature promising new (or not so new) idea, strategy and/or innovative program in science education that we think merits the attention of almost 200,000 NSTA Express readers.

This new column is an interactive endeavor, so send us your ideas of a large-scale, innovative program in science education that really seems to be working for your school or district. Entries can be submitted to jodi_p@nsta.org.

This week, in Innovations in Science Education, learn how the Franklin Institute Center for Innovation in Science Learning in Philadelphia used Discover Days, Exploration Cards, Legacy Projects, and a Museum Adventure Day to focus more elementary students, teachers, and parents around science. Read more about the Parent Partners in School Science program (http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2004_11_08_parents.htm).


Election Update

Tuesday's elections provided President Bush with four more years in the White House, and on Capitol Hill the Republicans strengthened their majority in both the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. Overall, Republicans picked up four seats in the Senate, bringing their majority to 55; and in the House, they picked up two seats, with at least two other races too-soon-to-call, but likely to go to the Republicans.

The strengthened majority in the Senate means that some Democrats will lose some seats on the education and appropriations committees; several committee chairmanships that oversee education issues are also expected to change.

Although education was not a big issue during the campaign, President Bush did unveil a number of new initiatives for a second term, including more testing at the high school level, providing new support for struggling middle and high school readers, and increasing pay for teachers based on student improvements. However, most analysts are speculating that maintaining the course for No Child Left Behind will remain the administration's primary focus over the next four years; read more at http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2004/11/03/11prez_web.h24.html.


NSTA Member Journals Investigate "The History and Nature of Science"; Selected Articles Available Online to All

The November issues of two of our peer-reviewed member journals—Science Scope, for teachers of middle level and junior high school science, and The Science Teacher, for secondary science teachers-featured a special focus and a number of articles on "The History and Nature of Science." Although only members of NSTA receive these highly regarded publications, NSTA is pleased to offer online one lead article from every issue of each journal as a sample to share with interested science educators. Science Scope features "articles on great scientists, experimental design, and even a special pullout chapter from the Smithsonian Institution Press," in the issue, and the free-read online article is "Technology and Society: Their Impact on Each Other" (http://www.nsta.org/main/news/stories/science_scope.php?news_story_ID=49916). The Science Teacher notes that the "special issue focuses on how history and nature of science helps students gain a solid understanding of the scientific enterprise," and the article is "The Nature of Science: Always Part of the Story" http://www.nsta.org/main/news/stories/science_teacher.php?category_ID=88&news_story_ID=49930. And of course, should you want to become an NSTA member and receive your own complete journal according to grade level you teach, go to https://ecommerce.nsta.org/membership/apply.asp!


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