Improving Mathematics and Science Education: A Longitudinal Investigation of the Relationship between Reform-Oriented Instruction and Student Achievement

Improving Mathematics and Science Education: A Longitudinal Investigation of the Relationship between Reform-Oriented Instruction and Student Achievement

Improving Mathematics and Science Education: A Longitudinal Investigation of the Relationship between Reform-Oriented Instruction and Student Achievement

Improving Mathematics and Science Education: A Longitudinal Investigation of the Relationship between Reform-Oriented Instruction and Student Achievement

Synopsis

This report presents the findings of a multiyear study of the effectiveness of reform-oriented science and mathematics instruction.

Excerpt

Educators and policymakers have been concerned about the quality of mathematics and science education in the United States for several decades. In the 1990s, a number of major initiatives were launched to improve mathematics and science education, including the development of national standards (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [NCTM], 1989, 2000; National Research Council [NRC], 1996; American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS], 1993); the development of new curriculum materials (Linn et al., 2000; Porter et al., 1994); the initiation of systemic reforms (Shields, Corcoran, and Zucker, 1994); the provision of professional development (Dutro et al., 2002); and the development of new assessment strategies (Stecher and Klein, 1996).

One prominent feature in these efforts was a new approach to teaching mathematics and science, referred to as “reform-oriented teaching.” This approach stressed instruction that engages students as active participants in their own learning and that seeks to enhance the development of complex cognitive skills and processes. Students are asked to “do mathematics” and “do science” in ways that are similar to those engaged in by mathematicians and scientists. Prominent organizations embraced this approach, including NCTM, NRC, and AAAS. Reform-oriented approaches were adopted in many schools and dis-

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