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On the Consideration of Adoption and Implementation of The Next Generation Science Standards in a Local-Control Context: Supporting the Epistemology of Science through Education Policy

Lazzaro, Christopher C.

On the Consideration of Adoption and Implementation of The Next Generation Science Standards in a Local-Control Context: Supporting the Epistemology of Science through Education Policy
Christopher C Lazzaro
The primary purpose of this research is to understand how and why members at each of the three levels of the education system within a local-control state made the decisions they did in supporting or hindering the adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. This research concentrates on three levels of the education system in a local-control state; 1) the state level 2) the district level, and 3) the school/teacher level, while investigating the following questions:
1. To what extent, and in what ways, do members in each of the three levels of the state education system advocate for adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards?
2. Are the members in each of the three levels motivated or compelled to consider adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards, why or why not?
3. To what extent, and in what ways, do the members in each of the three levels take into account science epistemology in their overall consideration of adoption/implementation of the NGSS?
The data drew from a series of interviews from a prior study, "Challenges of Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards in Local-Control States in the U.S." (Sevian, Foster, and Scheff, 2012).
After these data were coded and analyzed around the three research questions, this phenomenographic research study identified four key findings:
Key Finding 1 - As the District Coordinators are uniquely situated within the state education system to be able to see both the on-the-ground practical implications and the high-level policy pressures of adopting and implementing the NGSS, they reflect the deepest level of awareness of how to best advocate for adoption and implementation of the NGSS.
Key Finding 2 - Motivation to adopt and implement the NGSS is highly nuanced. The most significant factor influencing motivation to adopt or implement the NGSS at each level is related to assessment. The reasons assessment affects motivation is different at each level.
Key Finding 3 - Each interviewee at each level demonstrated awareness that the NGSS are significantly different from prior standards in some way. While teachers and SSCs sometimes cited the science practices as the critical difference, they were not able to meaningfully elaborate on what "science practices" are. Conversely, the District Coordinators demonstrated a deeper level of awareness and were able to comment more specifically on the practices and how they would affect science education in their state.
Key Finding 4 - Regardless of level, the better a participant reflected an awareness of epistemology, the more likely they were to advocate for adoption and implementation of the NGSS. Similarly, the better a participant reflected an awareness of epistemology, the more likely they were motivated to consider adoption and implementation of the NGSS.
The implications of the findings in this current study can; inform the supplemental materials and dissemination of information by standards writers, help policy makers engage stakeholders appropriately at each level by illustrating how national reform efforts play out in local-control states, and aid school based employees by identifying how and where they can participate in state level policy discussion and where their input could be valuable.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Science Education
Thesis Advisors
Rivet, Ann
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 18, 2015
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