Seattle Pacific University Discovery Research K-12

Honing Diagnostic Practice: Toward a New Model of Teacher Professional Preparation and Development

Project Personnel:

Stamatis Vokos, PI
Eleanor Close, Co-PI
Lane Seeley, Co-PI

FACET Innovations:
Jim Minstrell, Co-PI






Project #: DRK12-0822342
Project Start Date: 9/01/2008



The goals of this five-year project are (1) to improve the learning of physics and physical science teachers and students in grades 5-12 by developing a science teacher education model focused on the establishment of a diagnostic learning environment through formative assessment as a powerful instructional practice for promoting learning of all students on the topic of energy; and (2) to increase the understanding of the processes through which teachers develop the requisite knowledge, skills, and dispositions for effective deployment of a formative assessment instructional cycle. Its three specific objectives are: (1) to produce research-based diagnostic tools on energy in the context of physics and physical science; (2) to develop research instruments to probe teachers' understanding of content, students' ideas, and instructional responses to formative student data; and (3) to document case studies of teachers' formative assessment practices in the classroom in order to identify the components of, and obstacles to effective practice. Major activities of the proposed model-development process will center on: (a) Identifying pre-college students' and teachers' modes of reasoning on energy; (b) developing and implementing research-based internet diagnostic tools that provide real-time information to teachers to advance instruction; (c) developing tasks to probe (i) teachers' knowledge of common student thinking in energy, (ii) teachers' skills in selecting appropriate strategies for diagnosing the students' ideas, (iii) teachers' skills in selecting effective instructional practices based on diagnosed students' thinking; and (d) characterizing teachers' development toward the use of formative assessment through the study of teachers' real practices.