Student Achievement

Although some early projects included a design for assessing impact on students, for the first four years of the LSC program NSF did not request data on student impact. Many of the studies undertaken by projects funded in Cohort 5 and beyond are not yet completed. Still, there is a growing body of evidence regarding the impact of the LSC program on students.

Reviews of Existing LSC Student Achievement Studies

Two reviews of the studies conducted by LSC projects in Cohorts 1-4 suggest that LSCs are having a positive impact on students. In 12 of 13 studies reviewed by Banilower (2000) and 10 of the 12 reviewed by Zhang and Wang (2002), there is some evidence of impact on student achievement, attitudes and/or course taking patterns in both mathematics and science LSCs. Constraints in the research design of a number of the studies make some of their results less conclusive; for example, some studies did not include a comparison group. In response, NSF contracted with Westat to provide technical assistance to projects in Cohorts 5-8, resulting in improvements in the research design and/or analytic strategies utilized in later studies. Results from the Cohorts 5-8 studies that are already completed provide additional evidence of the impact of the LSCs on students (Zhang and Frechtling, 2005).

Teacher Interview Study

Other evidence of student impact comes from a teacher interview study (Shimkus & Banilower, 2004b). This study found that teachers participating in 100 or more hours of LSC professional development were more likely to report that the LSC project was having a positive impact on students than teachers who had participated in fewer than 100 hours of professional development.

Principal Questionnaire Data

A cross-sectional analysis of principal questionnaire data (Crawford & Banilower, 2004) indicates that school administrators in LSC districts perceived their schools to be making progress in moving toward excellence in mathematics/science education, and that student achievement in the targeted academic subjects was improving. Results were similar for mathematics and science projects.

The LSC Capstone Report: Lessons from a Decade of Mathematics and Science Reform
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