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Teacher Change in High School Science: Findings from the First Three Years of the Vertically Integrated Partnerships (VIP) K-16


"[T]his paper reports on findings from the first three years of implementation within Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), specifically changes in teachers' instructional practices and attitudes, as well factors that have facilitated or hindered teacher change. Additionally, VIP has strongly promoted science as inquiry, the ability of students to use "scientific reasoning and critical thinking to develop their understanding of science," which is a reflection of national standards (National Science Teachers Association, 2004; National Research Council, 1996; American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1993). An emphasis on inquiry-based instruction has been infused throughout VIP-supported activities, and given its importance within VIP, as well as in standards-based educational reforms more generally, particular attention is paid to its implementation and differing conceptions of inquiry-based teaching within the VIP community.

Data are drawn primarily from two sources: 1) pre- and post-program surveys of VIP's Biology Cohort and 2) classroom observations of a sample of VIP's Matter and Energy/Earth Space Systems Cohort. Data collected through other means, such as teacher evaluations of VIP-sponsored conferences and summer institutes, a focus group of Biology Cohort teachers, and a survey of Master Science Teachers (MSTs) reinforce findings from the survey and observations. The discussion of inquiry and factors influencing teacher change has broad applicability to other projects embarking on educational reform."