Replicating a Successful Authentic Science Research Program: An Interview with Dr. Robert Pavlica

By Robinson, George | Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, Summer 2004 | Go to article overview

Replicating a Successful Authentic Science Research Program: An Interview with Dr. Robert Pavlica


Robinson, George, Journal of Secondary Gifted Education


In this interview, Dr. Robert Pavlica discusses the Byram Hills High School Authentic Science Program, which he founded and directs. This program has been replicated in school districts throughout the country, and the expense to start and maintain it is minimal. Students are self-selected into the program based on their desire to study and succeed, not on their grade-point average. By undertaking this 3-year program, students learn not just about science, but how to do science like a practitioner in the field. First, students identify a topic they wish to investigate by doing an extensive review of articles. Then, they find a mentor to help them do research on their topic. Finally, students publish their results. In 2004, Byram Hills High School, which has only 600 students, was tied for first place in the nation with respect to the number of finalists and semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Research Competition.

**********

The Authentic Science Research Program at Byram Hills, founded by Dr. Robert Pavlica, has been replicated in more than 170 school districts in the state of New York, as well as in districts in five other states. Dr. Pavlica's success can be attributed to student choice, a unique mentor program, and a spiral curriculum. Results of the 2002 Intel Science Talent Research Competition, which were released after this interview took place, reported that Byram Hills High School, which has a student body of only 600, had eight semifinalists and one student who went on to become a finalist.

JSGE: In 2001, your students achieved great recognition. Would you tell us about them?

Dr. Pavlica: At Byram Hills High School we have approximately 600 students. It's the traditional public school. It's not a magnet school. There are 73 students in the Science Research Program. That's more than 10% of the school doing science research. And, if you think about it, that's more students doing science research than are on the varsity football or basketball team. These students are the future of our country. Well, this year, I had nine seniors, and they all, as part of the course requirements in Authentic Science Research, entered the Intel Science Search. Of the nine seniors, seven of them were chosen to be semifinalists and three of the seven were chosen as finalists, which represents the highest amount of finalist of any school in America. This success that I am talking about is doable in other schools.

JSGE: You're saying that your Science Research Program is replicable?

Dr. Pavlica: It's quite replicable. One of my roles as the academic director of Authentic Science Research in the high school is to teach teachers across the country how to replicate this program within their classes. Presently, in New York State, there are more than 170 school districts using the program. In addition, the program is being replicated in Missouri, California, Florida, New Jersey, and Connecticut. There are textbooks that supplement the training for teachers and there are textbooks for the students. It's highly replicable. In fact, New York State's Sharing Success Programs adopted my program as the model for the state.

JSGE: Where did the idea for this program come from?

Dr. Pavlica: That's a good question and a very interesting one. Twelve years ago, I was teaching AP Biology, and a student in my class, Abe Shahim, came up to me and he said, "Dr. Pavlica, I have taken every AP course that Byram Hills has to offer. I'm taking AP Biology now. I've taken AP Chemistry. I've taken AP Physics at Purchase College. I've taken AP Calculus." He went on about his AP courses, and then he said, "I don't know a damn thing about science."

I looked at him and I said, "Abe, what do you mean?"

And he said, "All I've ever done in my life is be a good student--meaning I listened to what the teacher told me, then I memorized what the teacher told me, and then on the next exam I wrote down what the teacher told me. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Replicating a Successful Authentic Science Research Program: An Interview with Dr. Robert Pavlica
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.