“One of the distinguishing attributes of PBL”, writes McDowell (2017), “when designed correctly is that clear learning intentions and success criteria are provided at the beginning of the learning sequence.”
Two years ago I was sitting in a professional development given by Michael McDowell and something it really struck me was when he presented Hattie's effect size on student clarity. This is also about the same time I had been trying to implement digital platforms for students to communicate. This led me to ask “how do we get the students to communicate that they are clear on their learning outcomes, success criteria and how they are monitoring their progress toward these goals.”
Studies have shown the links that science literacy have to economic growth and to solving complex social and environmental problems. Therefore, educators need to ensure all students, not just future scientist and engineers, have the knowledge to solve science-related problems. The NGSS were modeled after this philosophy.
On the 2016 California State Test (CST) for science only 53% of 8th grade students in Napa Valley Unified School District scored proficient or higher. With the district going to an integrated model implementing the NGSS, not only are the standards new, the content is 70% different in each of the grade levels. The curriculum to support the new standards hasn't been adopted by the district so we are designing our own curriculum and lessons.
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