June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.250.1 - 11.250.9
Assessment of a Coordinated Effort to Increase Student Learning in Mathematics and Science through Engineering Examples
A public research institution, the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), has formed a partnership with the Delta School District and Cedaredge Middle School to improve student learning. The partnership program has included inservice teacher recertification courses and school/student projects. This partnership is one part of an ongoing effort by the middle school to become the leading school for mathematics and science in the region. The area is predominately rural with about half of the students receiving free or reduced-cost lunches. Generally, schools with this profile do not rank highly on standardized tests. However, Cedaredge Middle School has shown great progress and has been named a 2005 Gain-Maker School by the state for being the most improved middle school in the area of mathematics. The average scale score gains on the state assessment in mathematics were 35.7 over the time period from 2002 – 2004. Teachers from the middle school have participated in two workshops (including academic year followup) of the university that emphasized engineering applications for the mathematics and science classrooms. Also, two engineering senior design teams from CSM have worked on projects in curriculum and classroom material development for the middle school. These programs have been coupled with a focused effort on the part of the teachers to improve specific mathematics and science skills throughout each class. The methods used by this middle school can serve as a model for improvement for other schools in the state and nation.
Several groups1,2,3 have raised concerns about the low level of scientific and mathematical literacy that exists in schools. Many of these concerns are based on results from state and national and standardized achievement tests4,5. Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress6 suggest that U.S. students from low-income families are performing below their middle class peers in science and mathematics. These findings and concerns that they raise have resulted in a broad range of reform activities that are designed to improve the education that all students receive in science and mathematics in elementary, middle school and high school7,8. Many experts agree that engineering applications have helped students to better understand mathematics and science. Quoting Anwar9 , “By infusing science and engineering problem solving concepts into mathematics curricula, students may be provided with a context for the material they are learning. Demonstrating how engineers and scientists use mathematics to solve real world problems would encourage students to continue their math and science studies.“ The state of Massachusetts has adopted this concept and introduced engineering standards into the state curriculum. They are convinced10 “that engineering is a great way to make science and math more engaging to youngsters”. In this paper we will discuss a multifaceted effort to improve middle school mathematics and science achievement as measured by standardized tests. First we will describe the university and middle school partners involved in the process. We will then discuss the unique features of the middle school curriculum and their target topic efforts. Next we will describe some professional development offerings and senior design projects offered through the engineering university.
Rodriguez, P., & Skokan, C. (2006, June), Assessment Of A Coordinated Effort To Increase Student Learning In Mathematics And Science Through Engineering Examples Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/582
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