BEST tasked by Congress to find out 'what works' to stop thinning of US technical talent pool
(Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.) – Building Engineering and Science Talent (BEST) today announced the results of its final assessment of best practices in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 math and science education to keep women, minorities and persons with disabilities on the educational path to careers in science and engineering.
The report, titled "What it Takes: Pre-K-12 Design Principles to Broaden Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics" showcases nine programs with significant evidence of effectiveness and eleven that warrant further research, based on an in-depth evaluation of research evidence programs by the BEST Blue Ribbon Panel on Pre-K-12 Education and the American Institutes of Research (AIR).
The BEST assessment is among the first to require independent evaluation to prove effectiveness. The BEST panel, chaired by Dr. Shirley Malcom, head director for Education and Human Resources at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, screened 200 programs and selected 34 for detailed examination. Other panel leaders included Carlos Rodriquez, principal research scientist with the American Institutes for Research, and Linda Rosen, president of Education and Management Innovations, Inc.
The results are as significant for what was not found as they are for what was ultimately discovered: not a single program earned the highest possible rating of verified, as defined by five studies of acceptable rigor, proving that such evidence is hard to find. Most programs concentrate their limited resources on providing services and recruiting participants rather than on rigorous and costly impact studies. The BEST Panel developed a protocol that defined a rigorous study as one that provides meaningful research evidence comparing the outcomes of students who experience a given intervention and those who do not. Other category ratings include: probable, notable and meriting further research.
The following programs were given the highest BEST assessment rating of probable: Direct Instruction in Mathematics, an instructional approach developed in the late 1960s at the University of Illinois, and Project SEED (Special Elementary Education for the Disadvantaged) a supplementary mathematics program also launched in the 1960s in Berkeley, California. (For a complete list of rated programs, see page five.)
The BEST Panel also identified a framework of design principles BEST that overlapped among effective programs:
Defined outcomes drive the intervention and are successfully accomplished for the entire target population. Students and educational staff agree on goals and desired outcomes. Success is measured against intended results. Outcome data provide both quantitative and qualitative information. Disaggregated outcomes provide a basis for research and continuous improvement.
Sustained commitment enables effective interventions to take hold, produce results and adapt to changing circumstances. Its components are proactive leadership, sufficient resources and steadfastness in the face of setbacks. The minimum conditions for assuring sustained commitment are continuity of funding and of support at the individual school and school district levels.
Personalization acknowledges that the goal of intervention is the development of students as individuals. Student-centered teaching and learning methods are core approaches. Mentoring, tutoring and peer interaction are integral parts of the learning environment. Individual differences, uniqueness and diversity are recognized and honored.
Challenging content provides the foundation of knowledge and skills that students master. Curriculum is clearly defined and understood. Content is related to real-world applications, goes beyond minimum competencies, and reflects local, state and national standards. Students understand the link between the rigor of the content they study and the career opportunities which await them later in life. Appropriate academic remediation is readily available.
Engaged adults who believe in the potential of all students provide support, stimulate interest and create expectations that are fundamental to the intervention. Educators play multiple roles as teachers, coaches, mentors, tutors and counselors. Teachers develop and maintain quality interactions with students and each other. Active family support is sought and established.
These design principles provide tools that will enable communities across the country to assess and strengthen pre-K-12 math and science programs. BEST's next phase will focus on creating a test bed of communities that are committed to implementing the design principles of best practice.
About Building Engineering and Science Talent, (BEST)
BEST, an initiative of the Council on Competitiveness, was established as an independent, 501(c)3 in September 2001 at the recommendation of the Congressional Commission on the Advancement of Women in Science, Engineering and Technology. The nation's scientists, engineers, mathematicians and technologists comprise and indispensable strategic asset. Despite decades of effort, however, this pool of talent remains about 3/4 male and 4/5 white. BEST's mission is to build a foundation for action through a two-year net assessment of best practices in pre-K-12, higher education and the workplace to increase the participation of women, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and persons with disabilities in the science, engineering and technology professions. Three blue-ribbon panels worked in parallel across the whole continuum of education and workforce development. Based on available research evidence and the professional judgment of 120 nationally recognized practitioners and researchers, the higher education assessment:
Makes the case for national action to meet the U.S. talent imperative; Rates pre-K-12 programs that have research evidence of effectiveness or are worthy of investment in further research; Analyzes higher education and workplace exemplars; Distills the design principles that underpin effective programs, and Proposes an action agenda at the national and community levels engaging employers, educators, policy makers, professional societies and nonprofit organizations.
About the American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science (http://www.sciencemag.org). AAAS was founded in 1848, and serves some 265 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million. The non-profit AAAS (http://www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy; international programs; science education; and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS. AAAS seeks to "advance science and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people."
About the American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Founded in 1946, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a not-for-profit corporation with a long history of accomplishment. AIR's staff of more than 850 professionals performs basic and applied research, provides technical support, and conducts analyses based on methods of the behavioral and social sciences. Our program areas focus on education, health, individual and organizational performance, and quality of life. AIR helps its clients, throughout the United States and abroad, respond to human problems with effective policies, products, and services. Our goal is to make a difference -- by addressing a broad range of social problems and by ensuring that the results of our research are useful. AIR is committed to remaining strictly independent and non-partisan in all matters. Objective, science-based research and analysis ensure we better serve our clients' and the community's needs. (http://www.air.org).
Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)
Mary Catherine Swanson Founder/Executive Director
AVID Center 5120 Shoreham Place #120
San Diego, CA 92122
The Algebra Project, Inc.
Benjamin Monahan, Coordinator of National Initiatives
99 Bishop Allen Dr.
Cambridge, MA 02139
Tel: 617-491-0200 x128
American Chemical Society
Cecilia Hernandez, Senior Staff Liaison
American Chemical Society
1155 Sixteenth St., NW
Washington, DC 20036
Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP)
Kenneth Hill, Executive Director
Rackham Educational Memorial Building
100 Farnsworth, Suite 249
Detroit, MI 48202
Tel: 313-831-3050 Fax: 313-831-5633
National Institute for Direct Instruction
P. O. Box 11248 Eugene, OR 97440
Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology
Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler, Director
University of Washington
P. O. Box 355670
voice-TTY, Washington only, outside Seattle 509-328-9331
voice-TTY, Spokane office Fax: 206-221-4171
El Paso Collaborative forAcademic Excellence (EPCAE)
Lucy Michal, Math Alignment Director
Joanne Bogart, Contact
902 Education Building
El Paso, TX 79968
Grace Dávila Coates, Director
EQUALS Program Lawrence Hall of Science
University of California, Berkeley
Foundational Approaches in Science Teaching (FAST)
Frank Pottenger, Head Science Section
University of Hawaii, Honolulu
1776 University Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96822-2463
Tel: 800-799-8111 Fax: 808-956-6730
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Gateway to Higher Education
Dr. Morton Slater, Program Director
City College /University of New York
Y Bldg., Suite 306
138th St. & Convent Ave.
New York, NY 10031
Peggy Parnell Drane, Executive Director
1420 King St.
Mathematics, Engineering and Science
Juanita Muniz-Torres, MESA Schools Program -
University of California
300 Lakeside Dr., 7th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612-3550
Operation Smart/Girls, Inc.
Dr. Heather Johnston Nicholson, Director of Research
441 West Michigan St.
Indianapolis, IN 46202-3287
Project SEED (Special Elementary Education for the Disadvantaged)
Hamid Ebrahimi, National Director
Helen Smiler, National Projects Coordinator
2530 San Pablo Ave., Suite K
Tel: 510-644-3422 Fax: 510-644-0566
Patricia McGrath/Felix Galaviz, Co-directors
Joan Ruleau, Contact
300 Lakeside Dr., 7th Floor
510-987-0964, J. Ruleau
Manuel Berriozábal, Director of Development
University of Texas at San Antonio
3600 North Loop, 1604 West
San Antonio, TX 78249-0661
University of North Carolina
Math Science Education Network
Pre-college Program (MSEN)
Rita Fuller, Associate Director
Center for School Leadership Development
140 Friday Center Dr.
P. O. Box 4440 Chapel Hill, NC 27515-4440
Summer Science Academy
Dr. J. W. Carmichael, Jr., Director
QuoVadis Webster, Contact
Premed Office 1 Drexel Dr.
New Orleans, LA70125
Yu'pik Mathematics Program
Jerry Lipka, School of Educaton
P. O. Box 756480
University of Alaska
Fairbanks, AK 99709
Source: Eurekalert & othersLast reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
-- Robert Frost