Contextualizing professional development for enhancing high school biology teacher proficiency in standards-based instruction
Reeves, Marion McCoy
MetadataShow full item record
Mandated changes in practice often leave experienced teachers in need of professional development. During the ten years prior to this study science teachers had been involved in implementing new state standards based on national standard models that called for an inquiry approach to instruction. Within the same time frame, accountability testing, including end of course tests administered by the state was also implemented, including Biology classes. The resulting scores served as a part of students’ course grades. Testing accountability has been shown to be a factor in preventing full implementation of standards-based instruction. Professional development models provided to date have not fully developed teacher fluency in standards-based teaching. The participants in this study were experienced Biology teachers in a large, diverse urban school system. Prior to the professional development, participants described their practice as teacher centered, focusing on test success for students. They then engaged in a model of professional development that used reflective practice within the participants’ school settings. Over the course of this study participants maintained lesson logs, taught standards-based lessons followed by lesson reviews with the professional developer, and reflected on the sequencing of Biology instruction. Case studies of these participants described individual changes in thinking and practice. Cross-case analysis examined the professional development model as a means of facilitating standards-based inquiry instructional thinking and practice on the part of experienced teachers. The findings of the analysis indicated that participants became less focused on content, and more aware of teaching all aspects of science. Participants were more aware of their own practices, and made personal decisions regarding changes in practice that would align more closely with standards-based instruction.