George Mason University has been selected to receive a $28.5 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education and will lead the Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA). The project is a partnership that includes 47 Virginia school districts, six universities, SRI International and the Virginia Department of Education. University partners include the College of William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and James Madison University.
The VISTA project will be led by Donna R. Sterling, professor of science education and director of Mason’s Center for Restructuring Education in Science and Technology (CREST). The goal of VISTA is to improve science teaching and student learning throughout Virginia, especially in high-need (high-poverty, high-minority) schools.
The VISTA project expands on prior research and active-learning programs conducted within Mason’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) and CREST over the past 15 years. VISTA will build an infrastructure to provide sustained, intensive science teacher professional development to increase student performance.
“Science teaching in Virginia is hindered by two fundamental, unmet needs. Elementary school faculty often lack a solid grounding in the inquiry-based nature of science, while on the secondary level, teacher shortages have led to the hiring of uncertified teachers,” says Sterling. “Our model to improve K-12 science teaching was previously incorporated into two programs that have produced statistically significant gains in teacher instruction and student achievement.”
To read more, visit: http://news.gmu.edu/articles/3884.