CRDG continued its partnership with the Hawai‘i Department of Education (HIDOE) this year on a range of initiatives. In preparation for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in mathematics and English language arts (ELA), and in planning for adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) when they become available in 2013, CRDG has been working collaboratively on efforts to support effective teacher professional development, to create guidelines for instructional materials selection and/or development, and to develop new programs.
In mathematics, the CCSS emphasize mathematical practices, problem solving, and learning progressions that enable students to develop deep understanding and fluency in mathematics, including an emphasis on developing algebraic thinking beginning in kindergarten. With ten years of experience in the Measure Up project on how students develop algebraic thinking, CRDG’s research base is among the best available on which to draw to design instructional materials and professional development that enable teachers to meet the requirements of CCSS mathematics. CRDG mathematics faculty, in collaboration with HIDOE, are also developing a new algebra course for high school students to be taken in parallel with algebra I or algebra II that focuses on hard-to-teach algebra concepts aligned with CCSS mathematics (see p. 7).
While the next generation of science standards are not expected to be available until late 2012, the National Research Council (NRC) document A Framework for K–12 Science Standards: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas on which the science standards will be based, emphasizes teaching science as inquiry, the importance of focusing on the practices of science, and learning progressions that allow students to incrementally develop and deepen their understanding of science. With decades of research in science curriculum development with these same foundational concepts, CRDG has already begun work on a related project. Entitled STEM in Early Education, the project is designed to develop integrated systems of job-embedded professional development and teacher supports and to creatively use existing and emerging technologies for teaching inquiry-based learning progressions aligned with the NRC framework for science education.
Another aspect of the CRDG collaboration with HIDOE involves the development of criteria for selecting instructional materials that align with the new standards. CRDG spent much of the last year researching and developing appropriate criteria, including recommended rating scales and decision points. The final selection criteria focused on CCSS mathematics and ELA were completed this year. Development of science selection criteria is pending the release of the NGSS in late 2012.