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Partnership To Improve Student Achievement Through Real World Learning In Engineering, Science, Mathematics And Technology

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Engineering in the Elementary School

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.963.1 - 13.963.13



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Paper Authors

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Mercedes McKay Stevens Institute of Technology

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Augusto Macalalag Stevens Institute of Technology

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Carol Shields Stevens Institute of Technology

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Debra Brockway Stevens Institute of Technology

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Beth McGrath Stevens Institute of Technology

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Partnership to Improve Student Achievement through Real World Learning in Engineering, Science, Mathematics and Technology


Through a state-sponsored Math-Science Partnership (MSP) program, elementary teachers in New Jersey are receiving professional development in innovative, research-based, science and engineering curricula; classroom-based technical and pedagogical support; and ongoing coaching and mentoring. Two universities, a science center, and a teacher education institution are collaborating on delivering project services to schools. The program is strengthening the science content knowledge of 56 Grade 3-5 teachers in six urban districts in northern New Jersey. Preliminary findings from the pre and post tests of experimental group teachers indicate that participants significantly increased their content knowledge in specific life science topics and concepts involving the engineering design process. A study between the experimental and comparison group of teachers indicated a significant difference between the achievements attained by the two groups. This paper describes the first year of a three-year effort.


The Partnership to Improve Student Achievement (PISA) project is a New Jersey Department of Education-sponsored Math-Science Partnership (MSP) grant, which derives from a U.S. Department of Education (USED) grant. USED MSP program goals focus on strengthening teacher content knowledge in science and mathematics in order to improve student achievement in these subjects. The involvement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculty at institutions of higher education is a requirement of all MSP grants. The PISA program presents a novel approach to accomplishing MSP goals by integrating the use of exemplary, research-based elementary engineering curricula, engineering explorations and problem-based activities to strengthen teachers’ science learning. An intensive summer institute, followed by in-class mentoring and coaching support, and online help, represent key program interventions. An important component of the project design is the requirement that teachers work in groups on the design of a STEM Learning Module (SLM) that incorporates science, mathematics, and technology toward the solution of an engineering problem. In creating this SLM, teachers engage in professional inquiry related to STEM content, pedagogy, assessment, and curricular resources relevant to the engineering challenge they are implementing or creating. Teachers work collaboratively on developing the module, including identification of student science learning objectives (tied to the district science curriculum and standards), lesson plans, implementation and classroom management plans, and student assessments.

The overarching aim of the three-year PISA program is to: (a) demonstrate and institutionalize within participating schools a methodology, supporting curriculum materials, and other instructional resources and strategies to increase student interest, engagement, and achievement in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology and further, to (b) promote a culture of inventiveness and creativity that calls upon students to demonstrate 21st century workforce skills and to apply science and mathematics toward the solution of relevant, real-world problems. Key

McKay, M., & Macalalag, A., & Shields, C., & Brockway, D., & McGrath, B. (2008, June), Partnership To Improve Student Achievement Through Real World Learning In Engineering, Science, Mathematics And Technology Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3546

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