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This chapter presents the results for the Multi-Agency Study of Teacher Enhancement Programs, a study of professional development programs believed to represent best practices in professional development for science teachers. Working through an interagency government task force coordinated by the National Science Foundation (NSF), representatives from six groups, the Departments of Energy, Education, Health and Human Services, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NSF, and the Smithsonian Institution conducted the study. The evaluation was designed to document the teaching practices promoted in the selected programs and to examine the impacts of the programs in terms of: (1) effects on classroom practice; (2) differences in effects on classroom practice by type of program; (3) effects on teacher leadership and dissemination of findings; and (4) the importance of supports at the district and school levels. Programs selected were expected to meet most of the following criteria: (1) an instructional approach that emphasizes hands-on/minds-on activities; (2) a standards-based approach that aligns curriculum, instruction, and assessment with local, state, and national standards or frameworks; (3) development activities that extend over time, including follow-up when participants return to their schools; and (4) direct involvement of participants with the scientific process. Additional considerations governing selection were stability, inclusion of teachers who are themselves from traditionally underrepresented populations, and inclusion of programs that were carried out within a systemic reform context. Thirty-four programs were included in the study, which was divided into three phases: programs documentation and description, a mail survey of all participants, and site visits to 13 of the initial 34 programs. Twenty-eight of these programs were characterized as development programs; the remaining six as research programs. Findings confirm the value of well-designed professional development experiences. (Contains 11 references.) (MVL)

Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education, Faculty Development, Public Agencies, Science Instruction, Science Teachers, Teacher Improvement

ERIC Clearinghouse for Science, Mathematics, and Environmental Education, 1929 Kenny Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1080. Tel: 800-276-0462 (Toll Free); Fax: 614-292-0263; Web site:

Autor: Frechtling, Joy; Katzenmeyer, Conrad


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