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LSC Year Two Cross-Site Report

author: Iris R. Weiss, Kathleen A. Rapp, Diana L. Montgomery
published in: Horizon Research
published: 02/04/1998
posted to site: 02/04/1998

October 1997
Horizon Research, Inc.
111 Cloister Court - Suite 220
Chapel Hill, NC 27514-2296

Table of Contents
List of Figures iv
List of Tables vi
List of Boxes vii
Acknowledgments viii
Chapter One: Introduction 1
Description of Core Evaluation Data Collection Activities 1
An Overview of Cohort 1 and 2 Projects 4
Chapter Two: Results
Core Evaluation Question I: Quality of Professional Development 9
Teacher Ratings of District-Provided Professional Development9
Description of LSC Professional Development Activities11
Teacher Ratings of the Quality of LSC Professional Development23
Ratings of Individual Professional Development Sessions24
Core Evaluation Question II: Involvement in LSC 36
Teacher Participation36
School Involvement in Reform37
Core Evaluation Question III: Teacher Attitudes, Beliefs, and Preparation39
Teacher Attitudes and Beliefs about Science and Mathematics Education40
Teacher Perceptions of Their Preparedness43
Summary 55
Core Evaluation Question IV: Classroom Practice56
Teacher Descriptions of Classroom Practice56
Evaluator Descriptions of Classroom Practice61
An Evaluative Look at Classrooms66
A First Look at the Impact of LSC Professional Development76
Teacher Perceptions of the Impact of the LSC76
Changes in Cohort 1 Science Instruction: Year One to Year Two77
Comparison of Results by Level of Involvement in Professional Development79
Core Evaluation Question V: Supportive Context for Reform86
Teachers Perceptions of Support for Reform86
Principal Views on Science and Mathematics Reform90
Teacher and Principal Views on the Policy Environment for Reform91
Evaluator Ratings of Support for Reform94
Core Evaluation Question VI: Sustainability of the Professional
Development System
Chapter Three: Summary and Conclusions101

List of Figures

  1. Community Type for Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 Schools
  2. Student Race/Ethnicity for Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 Schools
  3. Characteristics of Students in LSC Schools
  4. Involvement of School Personnel in Addition to Classroom Teachers
  5. Outreach to Groups External to the School
  6. Composite: Quality of District Professional Development
  7. Participants in Observed LSC Professional Development Activities
  8. Major Disciplinary Content Areas of Observed Science Professional Development Activities
  9. Major Disciplinary Content Areas of Observed Mathematics Professional Development Activities
  10. Pedagogical Content Areas of Observed LSC Professional Development Activities
  11. Components of Professional Development System
  12. Teachers' Assessment of LSC Professional Development Activities
  13. Professional Development Session Ratings-Design
  14. Professional Development Session Ratings-Implementation
  15. Professional Development Session Ratings-Disciplinary Content
  16. Professional Development Session Ratings-Pedagogical Content
  17. Professional Development Session Ratings-Classroom Culture
  18. Professional Development Session Ratings-Capacity for Exemplary Instruction
  19. Professional Development Session Ratings-Leadership Capacity
  20. Professional Development Capsule Ratings of Observed Sessions
  21. Schools Heavily Involved in Reform in Each Subject
  22. Schools "well-along" in Improving their Program
  23. Composite: Attitudes Toward Teaching
  24. "I enjoy teaching science/mathematics"
  25. "Students learn science/mathematics best with students of similar abilities"
  26. Importance of Various Alternative Assessment Techniques
  27. Level of Preparedness to Teach Science/Mathematics
  28. "I am Well-Informed About National Standards in Science/Mathematics"
  29. Composite: Preparation-Knowledge of Science/Mathematics Topics
  30. Principal Concerns: Effect of Teacher Preparation on Science/Mathematics Instruction
  31. Composite: Preparation-Pedagogical Content
  32. Composite: Preparation-Instructional Strategies
  33. Pedagogical Strategies: Comparison of Teachers Responding "Very Important" and "Very Well Prepared" to Use Various Strategies
  34. Instructional Strategies: Comparison of Teachers Responding "Very Important" and "Very Well Prepared" to Use Various Strategies
  35. Assessment Strategies: Comparison of Teachers Responding "Very Important" and "Very Well Prepared" to Use Various Strategies
  36. Composite: Preparation-Equity and Diversity
  37. Level of Preparedness to Involve Parents
  38. Teachers Reporting Instruction in Each Subject on All 5 of the Last 5 days
  39. Composite: Use of Student Centered Strategies
  40. Composite: Investigative Culture
  41. Composite: Use of Assessment Strategies
  42. Class Size
  43. Minority Enrollment in Observed Classes
  44. Purposes of Science and Mathematics Lessons
  45. Focus of Science Lessons
  46. Focus of Cohort 2 Mathematics Lessons
  47. Lessons with High Ratings For Design
  48. Lessons with High Ratings for Implementation
  49. Lessons with High Ratings for Content
  50. Lessons with High Ratings for Classroom Culture
  51. Lessons with High Ratings for Likely to Enhance Student Ability
  52. Cohort 1 Teachers Feeling At Least Fairly Well Prepared
  53. Cohort 1 Science Classes Engaged in Hands-on Activities At Least Once a Week
  54. 1996 LSC Science Composites by Extent of Teacher Participation in Professional Development
  55. 1996 LSC Mathematics Composites by Extent of Teacher Participation in Professional Development
  56. Teachers Feeling Very Well Prepared to Teach Mathematics Topic
  57. Teachers Feeling Very Well Prepared to Teach Each Science Topic
  58. Teachers Feeling Very Well Prepared For Each Activity-Science
  59. Teachers Feeling Very Well Prepared For Each Activity-Mathematics
  60. Teachers Feeling Very Well Prepared in Aspects of Equity and Diversity-Science
  61. Teachers Feeling Very Well Prepared in Aspects of Equity and Diversity -Mathematics
  62. Instructional Strategies in Science Classes
  63. Instructional Strategies in Mathematics Classes
  64. Teacher Perceptions of Support from Colleagues
  65. Composite: Administrative Support
  66. Composite: Parent Support
  67. Principal Knowledge of National Standards
  68. Composite: Alignment of District Policies
  69. Teachers Labeling Each a Major Problem
  70. Principals Labeling each a Major Problem
  71. Support for LSC Reform
  72. Percent of Projects Where Evaluators Report Each Factor Facilitates Reform
  73. Capacity to Implement High-Quality Professional Development
  74. Resources to Support On-Going Professional Development
  75. Structures for Sustaining High-Quality Professional Development

List of Tables

  1. Professional Development Providers in LSC Projects
  2. Teacher Descriptions of District Professional Development
  3. Major Intended Purposed of Observed LSC Professional Development Sessions
  4. Major Activities at Observed LSC Professional Development Sessions
  5. Continuum Ratings for Quality of LSC Professional Development
  6. Teachers Reporting Participation in Various Types of Professional Development Activities in the Past 12 Months
  7. Teacher Participation in Various Numbers of Hours of Structured Professional Development
  8. Teachers Indicating Each Strategy is "Very Important" for Effective Instruction
  9. Level of Preparedness Reported by Teachers in Various Science Content Areas
  10. Level of Preparedness Reported by Cohort 2 Mathematics Teachers in Various Mathematics Content Areas
  11. Teacher Perceptions of Their Preparation to Implement Standards-Based Instruction
  12. Classes Participating in Each Activity at Least Once a Week
  13. Activities Ever Occurring in Science and Mathematics Classes
  14. Instructional Strategies Used at Least Once a Week
  15. Assessment Activities in Science and Mathematics Classes Using Each Type of Assessment at Least Once a Month
  16. Instructional Activities in Observed Classes
  17. Lessons Rated 4 or 5 on Design Indicators
  18. Lessons Rated 4 or 5 on Implementation Indicators
  19. Lessons Rated 4 or 5 on Content Indicators
  20. Lessons Rated 4 or 5 on Classroom Culture Indicators
  21. Lessons Rated 4 or 5 on Indicators of Enhancing Student Ability
  22. Overall Ratings of Observed Classes
  23. Cohort 1 Science Teachers' Opinions About Science Instruction
  24. Teachers' Perceptions of Principal Support for Science and Mathematics Reform
  25. Principal Ratings of Importance of Various Instructional Strategies for Effective Instruction
  26. Continuum Rating for Supportiveness of Context
  27. Continuum Rating for Sustainability

List of Boxes

Professional Development Session #1: "Learning Through Kit-Based Activities"

Professional Development Session #2: "Study Groups: Classroom Observation and Discussion"

Professional Development Session #3: "Exploring Student Assessments"

Professional Development Session #4: "Learning the Kit"

Lesson #1: Ineffective Science Instruction-Passive "Learning"

Lesson #2: Ineffective Mathematics Instruction-Activity for Activity's Sake

Lesson #3: Beginning Stages of Effective Mathematics Instruction

Lesson #4: Effective Science Instruction

Lesson #5: Effective Mathematics Instruction


The core evaluation of the Local Systemic Change Initiative requires the energy, efforts, and insights of a very large number of people.

Conrad Katzenmeyer in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Research, Evaluation, and Communication; Joyce Evans, Susan Snyder, and Diane Spresser in NSF's Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education (ESIE); and Joy Frechtling of Westat, Inc. were instrumental in the design and implementation of the core evaluation system. Numerous other NSF/ESIE program officers provided valuable assistance throughout the process, as well.

Within HRI, in addition to the authors of this report, Joan Pasley, Ruth Pershing, Ben Kurgat, Eugene Soar, Scott Hanrath, Jarrod Jenzano, Alison Schaff, Carol McDonald, Susan Hudson, Claudia Templeton, and John Supovitz were responsible for various tasks essential to the production of this report, from instrument design, to data processing and analysis, to report production.

Most notably, this report would not have been possible without the efforts of the LSC project lead evaluators, who persevered as we attempted to fine-tune the core evaluation system. And special thanks are due to the thousands of teachers throughout the 121 participating districts who took time from their busy schedules to provide information about their science and mathematics teaching.

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