Elementary Science Instruction

Self-contained elementary school teachers participating in the LSC increased the amount of time they spent teaching science. This finding is based primarily on a study of teacher questionnaire data collected from 42 LSC projects that targeted K-8 science teachers. For a teacher who had received the mean amount of LSC professional development, there was an effect of 0.42 standard deviations, equivalent to an increase of about 25 minutes per week. (Heck & Crawford, 2004b)

Instructional Time Devoted to Science (K-5 self-contained classes),
by Extent of Participation in LSC Professional Development

Minutes Per Week by Hours of PD

This finding is important as previous studies of teachers and teaching show that elementary teachers typically spend less than 30 minutes per day on science instruction, far less than the time spent on reading/language arts instruction and mathematics instruction (Weiss et al, 2001).

Although all LSC projects shared the goal of improving teaching and learning through content-based, professional development centered on instructional materials, the projects were set in a variety of local contexts. On the one hand, the LSCs are representative of schools and districts across the nation in many ways. A number of LSCs operated in large urban districts, while others were made up of consortia of rural and/or suburban communities. On the other hand, LSCs were distinguished from other districts in that they were successful in securing federal funds (the LSC grant award) to support their work, an indication that they had access to strong leadership in mathematics/science education.

The LSC Capstone Report: Lessons from a Decade of Mathematics and Science Reform
(PDF) [354 KB]