KnowAtom Press

Professional Development Essential to Achieving Highest Levels of K-8 Student Achievement, Research Shows

Posted by Samantha Ozgood on Jun 28, 2021 9:08:00 AM

Study Shows Adoption of NGSS-Based Teaching Models Shift Teacher and Student Thinking

SALEM, Mass., June 28, 2021 ( - Research from Northeastern University's Dr. Tracy L. Waters, "The Effects of the Next Generation Science Standards on Teaching Practices: An Instrumental Case Study," shows schools combining KnowAtom's research-based instructional practices with the program's new model of professional development achieved measurable increases in student learning and engagement. Looking at fourth- and fifth-grade teachers using KnowAtom's next-generation science standards (NGSS)-based curriculum for the first time, Waters identified changes in teaching methods, beliefs about teaching and learning science, and increased responsibility given to students in their own learning process.

"To achieve dynamic results like these, teachers and administrators need long-term support," said Francis Vigeant, founder and CEO, KnowAtom. "That's why KnowAtom serves as a partner, helping district and school administrators build strong networks of professional development that support teachers and students in this endeavor. Providing professional development opportunities that match our innovative new curriculum and giving teachers the opportunity to share best practices is essential to long-term success."

Teacher professional development for the new science standards

A key takeaway from Waters' research is the strong link between professional development opportunities and long-term change in teaching practices.

KnowAtom's innovative new model of professional development for NGSS provides a collaborative platform to help teachers develop their skills and share best practices. KnowAtom's educational technology is based on collaborative learning models, where students build knowledge through authentic, skills-based science and engineering activities.

Implementation asks teachers to reevaluate their teaching methods to align with NGSS standards and rethink their attitudes and beliefs about teaching and learning science. Waters' research showed that as teachers saw measurable results in student achievement, their beliefs and teaching practices continued to evolve. Teachers reported becoming more invested in the KnowAtom curriculum after seeing student success in their own classrooms.

KnowAtom helps schools develop strong professional development opportunities for educators.

In her research, Waters evaluated a district-wide model in partnership with KnowAtom that helped develop "teacher leaders" who returned to schools to train and mentor colleagues. Called "Science Champs," this network of in-house mentors provided continuous support to teachers connected directly to what they were experiencing in the classroom. Researchers found that this new model of professional development helped create a strong and sustainable network of trusted professional development leaders within each school.

"While NGSS-based curriculums are based on decades of education research, Waters' insightful look at the implementation of KnowAtom's curriculum helps show a well-defined path from research into everyday classroom practice," said Vigeant.

Learn more here.

See original release here.

Topics: Professional Development, Next Generation Science, Implementing New Science Standards, NGSS-Designed Curriculum

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