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Science, Health, and Physical Education Textbook Adoption

Table of Contents
Section I: Introduction
Cobb County School District Science Program p.2
Current Trends and Issues in Science Education p.3
Section II: Process
Timeline p.10
Process Overview
Criteria for Selection p.12
System-Wide Evaluation p.13
Public Review p. 14
Section III: Recommended Science Materials
Overview of Recommended Materials p.15
Rationale for Science Kits and Consumables p.16
List of Recommended Materials
Level: Elementary p.17
Level: Middle p.23
Level: High p.29
Section IV: Health Adoption
Current Trends and Issues in Health Education p.56
Overview of Recommended Health Materials p.58
List of Recommended Materials
Level: Elementary p.59
Level: Middle p.65
Level: High p.71
Section V: Implementation
Staff Development p.73
Science Adoption
Section I: Introduction

Cobb County School District Science Program

“Cobb County will develop life-long problem solvers, who can apply scientific
knowledge and critical thinking skills to real life situations, actively engaging students in
scientific inquiry and discovery through investigation of essential content.”

Mission of the Cobb County School District Science Program – Developed by the
K – 12 Science Adoption Committee, October 26, 2001

This simple but powerful statement of mission provides the backdrop against which K-12
science curricula, instructional methods, and assessments are reviewed and modified.
The adoption of instructional materials, both print and non-print, is guided by the
application of this mission statement.
As provided under State Board of Education Policy IFAA (Textbook Selection and
Adoption) instructional materials have been reviewed and recommended for Board
adoption for the Science Program K-12.
These recommendations take into account that science education provides students with
the concepts and skills necessary to be responsible, active and scientifically literate
citizens. The science curriculum is designed to be a blend of science concepts and science
process skills. Students are actively involved in hands-on/minds on scientific
investigations and activities in the exploration of the world in which they live. They
develop critical thinking skills that enable them to base decisions on valid scientific
evidence. Through our science program, our students are equipped with the problem-
solving skills and scientific concepts needed to contribute positively through science and
technology to our society.
2Science Adoption
Section I: Introduction

Current Trends and Issues in Science Education
Prepared by
Wendy Delano, Supervisor/K-8 Science
Donald R. Nesbitt, Supervisor/High School Science
February 13, 2002

As we go forward with a new materials adoption, it is important to examine current
trends and issues in science education and their implications for the Cobb County K-12
Science Program. This paper will present current relevant information that provides
direction to curriculum, instruction and assessment decisions.

TIMSS - Third International Mathematics and Science Study

TIMSS is the largest international education study ever undertaken using data
from one-half million students in 41 nations. TIMSS compares mathematics and
th th thscience achievement of students in 4 , 8 , and 12 grades. In the United States
over 33,000 students in more than 500 schools participated. Countries were
evaluated based on five components: student achievement, curriculum analysis of
content, teacher surveys, video studies of teaching strategies and case studies.

thU.S. 4 graders performed above the international average in math and science
thwith science performance being particularly strong. U.S. 4 graders were, in fact,
thoutperformed in science only by students in Korea. U.S. 8 graders also scored
thabove the international average in science. By 12 grade, however, U.S. science
scores, while not among the lowest, were below average.

Areas of weakness as indicated by TIMSS are physics and chemistry; however,
the performance of students in the U.S. was not significantly different from the
international average in these areas. The U.S. was among the top performing
countries in environmental issues and nature of science and above the
international average in earth and life science.

Many sample items from TIMSS are opened-ended, requiring critical thinking
and problem solving skills. An informal analysis of test items punctuates the need
for students to have more opportunities for true inquiry, designing their own
experiments, collecting and analyzing data. Students also must have access to the
tools of science.

TIMSS described curriculum standards in the United States as lacking coherence,
focus, and rigor. State curriculum frameworks emphasized breadth over depth.
Data obtained from the 1994–95 study indicated that mathematics and science
textbooks were substantially longer, less rigorous, and contained many
redundancies. We are addressing these issues in the Cobb County School District

3through the curriculum alignment process and by focusing on the textbook as a
resource, not as the curriculum.

NAEP – The National Assessment of Educational Progress

The science framework of the NAEP, the “Nation’s Report Card” is organized
along two major dimensions, (1) the three fields of science: earth, life and
physical sciences and (2) the three elements of knowing and doing science:
conceptual understanding, scientific investigation and practical reasoning. In
addition to multiple-choice items, the assessment also includes constructed
response items that ask students to explain, apply, design and communicate
scientific information.

NAEP periodically reports student achievement in science and mathematics using
four categories: “Below Basic”, “Basic”, “Proficient” and “Advanced”. On the
1996 NAEP, less than one third of all U.S. students in grades 4, 8 and 12
performed at or above the “proficient” achievement level in mathematics and
science. More than one-third of U.S. students scored below the “basic” level in
these subjects, which means they lack the prerequisite knowledge and skills
needed for “proficient” at each grade. While U.S. students do learn more each
year, they are performing less well in twelfth grade than in fourth and eighth
grades compared to the standards of proficiency for those grades.

Scores released for 2000 indicate no change in performance from 1996 to 2000 in
the area of science, for grades 4 and 8. A decline in grade 12 scores was noted
since the last administration of the test in 1996. One positive statistic for the
th2000 NAEP is that the number of students reaching the proficient level in 8
grade increased slightly from 29 to 32 per cent.

In Georgia, the key findings of the 2000 NAEP are:

• The average scale score for Georgia fourth graders was 143. This was
lower than the average scores across the nation (148).
• The percentage of Georgia fourth grade students who performed at or
above the Proficient level was 23 percent. This was smaller than the
national percentage of 28.
• The average scale score for Georgia eighth graders was 144. This was
lower than the average score for the nation (149) and did not differ
significantly from Georgia’s average score in 1996 (142).
• The percentage of Georgia eighth grade students who performed at or
above the Proficient level was 23 percent. This was smaller than the
percentage of students nationwide performing at this level (30 percent).

While Cobb County students, in general, tend to achieve at levels higher than
the state and national averages on standardized tests, no specific data related
to Cobb County’s performance on the NAEP has been made available.

4Local Assessment Trends

ITBS – Iowa Test of Basic Skills

While the Iowa Test of Basic Skills is no longer administered in Georgia, the
following summary of data trends during the period from 1998-2000 provides
valuable information.

The ITBS science scores for Cobb County students over the three-year period
from 1998 to 2000 were above the national average overall for grades 3-8. Little
change however was noted during this time. There was a slight increase in
performance in grades 4 and 5, a slight drop in grade 6 and a slight increase in
grades 7 and 8 over this three-year period.

In general a year or more of growth in science was achieved from 1999 to 2000
with the exception of grade 6 when a growth of .9 was noted. Additional ground
was gained however in grades 7 and 8 with growth of 1.3 and 1.9 years

Over this three-year period:
• Physical Science was an area of weakness in grades 3 and 4.
• Earth and Space Science was weak in grades 5, 7 and 8.
• Life Science was a weak area in grade 6.
• Fewer than the expected 25 percent of students in Cobb scored in the
lower three stanines. More than the expected 75 percent of students scored
in the average and upper three stanines. This is a positive data driven
indication of the effectiveness of our science program.

Stanford Achievement Test (SAT 9)

thThe Stanford Achievement Test, 9 Edition (SAT 9) is a nationally norm-
referenced test. The science subtest of the SAT 9 was constructed to de-
emphasize specific content vocabulary and to emphasize the unifying themes and
concepts of science. This subtest mirrors the philosophy presented in Science for
All Americans (1990). The criteria used by the test constructors are the same as
those employed in the National Science Education Standards (1995).

The first administration of this test was in the spring of 2001. SAT 9 data is limited,
however, the overall results indicate that Cobb students performed above
Science Adoption
Section I: Introduction
Current Trends and Issues in Science Education

the national average in science. Life science, however, surfaced as a somewhat
weak area in grades 4, 5 and 6.

5CRCT - Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Test

No science data for the CRCT has yet been obtained, as the science portion of the
CRCT will be administered for the first time this spring. In preparation for this
test, it was necessary to shift several units in the elementary program into a
different grade in order to address all QCC objectives at the grade in which they
will be tested. After the last science adoption, implemented in 1996, the state
made changes in the QCC objectives that impacted several areas of the Cobb
science program.

In order to make the most effective use of the resources in place at the time of
this revision, objectives were grouped into grade level strands as permitted
according to the introductory comments included in the QCC document. With the
advent of the CRCT for science, however, it became necessary for several units to
be shifted to the specific grade level indicated in the QCC, as that is where the
concepts will be tested. In other words, the CRCT for science has removed all
flexibility from the science curriculum in grades 3-8. It was therefore, necessary
for the QCC objectives to be a primary focus of our current science adoption
process. One of the critical features of potential science materials as determined
by the adoption committee is a strong match with the QCC objectives.

thThe 1997 QCC revision also impacted 6 grade science in that the focus shifted
from general science to physical science. This resulted in a change in the Cobb
sixth grade curriculum from general to physical science. While this change
presented many challenges due to the need for supplemental materials to support
several new units, our efforts seem to have paid off. High school physical
science teachers have recently commented that ninth graders entering their
classes, in general, have a better foundation of background knowledge than in the

National Implications

BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE: A Report to the Nation from The National Commission
ston Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21 Century, September 2000.

According to the Executive Summary of this report, then Secretary of Education
Richard Riley appointed a National Commission on Mathematics and Science
Teaching. Using NAEP and TIMSS data, the committee investigated and
reported on the quality of mathematics and science teaching in the nation. It
made suggestions about ways to improve recruitment, preparation, retention and
professional development for math and science teachers in K-12 classrooms
nationwide. The findings are contained in a document called Before It’s Too
Late: A Report to the Nation from the National Commission on Mathematics and
stScience Teaching for the 21 Century. This document is an urgent and insistent
plea to reform mathematics and science in the United States. Because
“Globalization” has occurred, U.S. students are in an international market place.
U.S. students continue to fall farther behind and they are not “world-class
learners.” Teaching in the United States must focus on strengthening

mathematics and science education. The National Commission describes three
specific goals and steps to accomplish each goal listed below:

Goal 1: Establish an ongoing system to improve the quality of mathematics and
science teaching in grades K-12. Steps to accomplish Goal 1 are:

Complete a needs assessment to determine what teachers need to deliver high-
quality teaching (Ex. time, resources).
Establish Summer Institutes to provide the identified needs.
Establish Inquiry/Study Groups to enrich teacher’s subject knowledge and
teaching strategies.
Train a leadership team as facilitators for Summer Institutes and Inquiry/Study
Provide a dedicated Internet Portal for ever-expanding knowledge,
functioning as a “virtual resource center.”
Establish a Council to coordinate these initiatives.
Initiate reward and incentive programs when higher student achievement
results are achieved.

Goal 2: Increase significantly the number of mathematics and science teachers and
improve the quality of their preparation. Steps to accomplish Goal 2 are:

Identify exemplary models of teacher preparation.
Attract additional qualified teaching candidates.
Create Teaching Academies.

Goal 3: Improve the working environment and make the teaching profession more
attractive for K-12 mathematics and science teachers. Steps to accomplish Goal 3

Create formal mentoring relationships.
Create district/business partnerships that can help create professional working
Provide incentives.

Provide competitive salaries, Goal 1 is of particular importance in developing a
strong, competitive science and engineering workforce and a citizenry equipped to
function in a complex world (National Science Board, 1999). To this end, the
National Science Foundation has instituted the Math and Science Partnership (MSP)
program as a part of the President’s emphasis on “No Child Left Behind.” According
to this program, research clearly demonstrates that to deliver a competitive scientific
and technical workforce, it is imperative to develop national strategies to improve the
preK-12 instructional workforce (National Research Council, 2001). However, well-
prepared and well-supported teachers alone will not improve student performance if
other parts of the educational system that need to be addressed are not changed as
well. Other essential components of the system include:
• the availability of a challenging curriculum and instructional materials
• the judicious use of technology to support instruction
• assessment systems that derive information on the depth of student learning
that guide classroom instruction

(Branford, Brown and Cocking, 1999; Pellegrino, Chudowsky and Glaser, 2001).

Implications for the Cobb County School District

In Cobb County, we are addressing each of these elements. Challenging
curriculum and instructional materials are being addressed through our emphasis
on vertical curriculum and instructional materials are the subject of this adoption.
The implementation of “advanced content” science courses in middle schools has
allowed more students the opportunity to engage in the science curriculum at an
extended level. Technology to support instruction is addressed through our
SPLOST projects that include microscopes, video microscopy systems, and
computer systems with probes and spectrophotometers. Guiding instruction
through assessment is the focus of the Core Challenge testing program.

The issue of challenging curriculum and instructional materials is also being
addressed through the recent science textbook and materials adoption process.
The highlights of the committee’s work are as follows:

• The committee began work in June of 2001 by reviewing current trends
and issues in science education and considering implications for the
science program in the County School District.
• The committee met to examine standardized test data, develop a mission
statement and determine critical features of science materials.
• Consultants from the American Association for the Advancement of
Science (AAAS) worked with the committee to apply a nationally
recognized, research – based materials selection process. Prospective
science materials were evaluated for content and instructional

An inquiry-based approach to science instruction remains the focus of the
Cobb County School District. Special emphasis continues to be placed on
hands-on experiences coupled with strong instruction. Research has shown
that when laboratory experiences are combined with concept introduction
positive outcomes occur. In order to ensure the implementation of a hand-on
science program, materials and supplies for laboratory investigations are
critical K-12.

To support the balanced literacy philosophy in elementary schools, a “Big
book” approach is recommended in the new adoption for grades K-2. This
approach will support the skill development needed to read and understand a
nonfiction text.
The inclusion of separate nonfiction titles that relate to science concepts will
provide additional materials for guided reading and small group instruction.
8This approach will, of course, be coupled with hands-on experiences to
develop science process skills and conceptual understanding.

A major aspect of the textbook and materials evaluation process was QCC
alignment and content development. Even though a textbook should be
considered a “resource”, adequate background information for students and
teachers is essential for a rigorous science program. A strong match with the
Quality Core Curriculum standards is also critical in order to address the
concepts over which students will be assessed.


As progress toward excellence in our K-12 Science Program continues we look
toward the following:
• full implementation of all adopted instructional materials
• completion of the K-12 curriculum alignment which will provide teachers
with clear direction
• staff development to provide a smooth transition to materials which are a part
of the new adoption
• continuing staff development in specific content areas in order to increase
teacher competency
• monitoring assessment instruments as a method of charting progress and
improving instruction

Additional progress reports will be submitted as relevant updates occur.


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