NSTA Home I Member Benefits I Conferences I Member Journals I Science Store I Learning Center

Week of December 3, 2007

Table of Contents

2006 PISA: U.S. 15-Year-Olds Score Lower On Average Than International Peers in Science

The National Center for Education Statistics released the results of the 2006 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) comparing the scores of U.S. 15-year-old students in science and mathematics literacy to the scores of their peers internationally in 2006. First implemented in 2000, PISA is sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental agency of 30 member countries. For the 2006 study the focus was on science literacy. Students were assessed on three science competencies: identifying scientific issues; explaining phenomena scientifically; and using scientific evidence.

Fifty-seven education systems participated in PISA, including 30 OECD jurisdictions and 27 non-OECD jurisdictions. American students scored an average of 489 points, lower than the OCED average of 500 points.

Compared to all of the other 56 education systems in the study, the United States scored lower than 22 jurisdictions, not significantly different from 12, and higher than 22.

Compared to the 29 other OECD countries, the United States scored lower than 16 OECD countries, not significantly different from 8, and higher than 5.

Finland, with an average of 563 score points, is the highest-performing country on the PISA science assessment. Other high-scoring OECD countries include Canada, Japan, New Zealand. High-scoring non-OECD countries/economies include Hong Kong-China, Chinese Taipei, and Estonia.

In addition to the results on performance in science, the PISA study provides a wealth of information on equity in learning opportunities; student engagement in science; and school and system level factors.

(back to top)

2007 Amgen-NSTA Fellows and Associate Fellows Announced

The National Science Teachers Association congratulates the 2007 Amgen-NSTA Fellows and Associate Fellows as they begin their professional development journey as the first cohort in the NSTA New Science Teacher Academy. Selected from nearly a thousand applicants from across the country, the 200 Amgen-NSTA Fellows and Associate Fellows will take part in a year-long program of science-related activities and professional development opportunities.

For a list of the 2007 Amgen-NSTA Fellows and Associate Fellows or to learn more about the NSTA New Science Teachers Academy, please visit www.nsta.org/academy. In April, the online application for the 2008-2009 fellows and associate fellows will become available. A link to the application will be posted on the site.

(back to top)

New York Times Reports Texas Science Education Official Forced to Resign Over Evolution

The director of science curriculum for the Texas Education Agency was forced to resign after forwarding an e-mail message on a talk about evolution and creationism last month. "Her departure, which has stirred dismay among science professionals since it became public last week, is a prelude to an expected battle early next year over rewriting the state's science education standards, which include the teaching of evolution," writes New York Times reporter Ralph Blumenthal.

(back to top)

Open Your Mind to the Potential of Technology

Technology in the Secondary Science Classroom features innovative ideas for teaching science with technology along with best-practice guidelines and current research on its effectiveness in the classroom.

Ideal for skeptics as well as early adopters, this book offers intriguing new concepts for technology-based teach strategies to stimulate your thinking while deepening your students’ engagement in science. For more information or to order, visit www.nsta.org/secondarytechnology.

(back to top)

Preservice Teacher Leaders: Apply Now for a Leadership Position with NSTA

We're seeking qualified candidates to serve a one-year term on the Preservice Teacher Preparation Committee, one of several standing committees of NSTA. Click here for information and a nomination packet (PDF).

(back to top)

Give the Best Gift of All—the Gift of Membership in NSTA!

With the holidays approaching, now is the time to give the gift of resources that will help the science educators in your life be the best they can be—gift membership in NSTA. You can download a gift application.

Your generous gift of an NSTA membership is an investment in the professional growth of your favorite science educator. Each membership includes a subscription to one grade-specific journal and NSTA Reports, a 20% discount on NSTA Press books, up to 40% off conference registrations, award and professional development opportunities, and much more. Each new member will receive an acknowledgment letter indicating that his or her membership was a gift from you. Click here for more information, and happy holidays!

(back to top)

A Very Chilly Special from PBS

From refrigeration to MRIs, the study of cold has transformed modern life. NOVA invites you on a journey through time from the first alchemists who tried to manufacture cold to the modern-era Nobel Laureates who strived to reach its ultimate destination.

Absolute Zero, a two-part PBS special based on Tom Shachtman’s acclaimed book Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold, is a unique blend of science, cultural history, and adventure story. The programs explore key concepts, significant individuals and events in the field of low-temperature physics, and the enormous impact that the mastery of cold has had on civilization. Absolute Zero premieres on NOVA January 8 and 15 at 8:00 pm (check your local listings).

(back to top)

Montana State University's NTEN Courses Teach Hands-on Learning Online

Can an online course be hands-on? You bet! Take a six-week online course through the National Teachers Enhancement Network (NTEN) and experience an activity-rich course that models how to teach science inquiry. Spring registration is now open.

Designed specifically for K-8 teachers, "The Dirt on Soil Science" and "The Science of Sound" include kits of hands-on materials so that all classmates can do and talk about the same experiments in these discussion-focused courses.

Each K-8 course offers one graduate credit delivered via a flexible and supportive online environment from Montana State University, one of the country's top 100 research universities. NSTA members receive a 10% discount.

NTEN offers courses in six disciplines including astronomy, environmental science, microbiology, physics, soil science, and water quality. View all of our K–12 online courses.

(back to top)

And Don’t Forget…

Membership Means You Belong! Join NSTA for these essential benefits that will enhance your marketability in the teaching profession and build your professional knowledge. Being a member of NSTA means you’re part of an international community of practitioners dedicated to improving science education.

Visit the NSTA Science Store for an outstanding array of bestselling books and teaching resources. Receive 30% off of the December featured book, Teaching High School Science Through Inquiry: A Case Study Approach.

Visit our member services web page to ensure that NSTA has your current contact information.

NSTA is offering more Web Seminars this fall. Visit the website for more information about these upcoming professional development opportunities.

Professional development courses in your future?
Online options give you a world of choice.
Take a look at these groups offering courses for science educators!


Sign Up / Opt Out | Member Services | Express Feedback | View in Browser | Archive | NSTA News Digest

NSTA Home | Member Benefits | Conferences | Member Journals | Science Store | Learning Center | Career Center

This e-newsletter is brought to you by the
National Science Teachers Association
1840 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201-3000
Phone: 703-243-7100

If you do not want to receive NSTA Express by e-mail, please follow this link:

NSTA Express archive: www.nsta.org/publications/archive-express.aspx