Joining us for the conversation that day was Eleanor Smalley, Executive Director of the JASON Project — a non-profit organization that connects students to real-time science by offering schools a wide variety of award-winning STEM curricula and educational resources.But in a state where only one in five students completes any level of post-secondary credentialing (certificate or degree), is Texas positioned to produce the next generation of science leaders? Dr. Smalley provided the audience with critical information around the weight of the NGSS at the national level, and the implications this movement could have on Texas students.
Currently U.S. students rank 25th for mathematics and 17th for science skills in the world, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam. The lagging trajectory of student performance, as outlined by Smalley, can be altered through three critical components:classroom teaching, organizational structure and school culture. Without the inclusion of all components, change will not happen.
- Eleanor Smalley: Smalley PowerPoint BREAKFAST
Throughout the years, we have seen a growth in the supply of information: from Knewton to Google toKhan Academy. So it’s not a question of the lack of information, Smalley said, but rather one of access and integration, done in a way that is enticing and in real-time.
With the final version of the NGSS expected to be released in March 2013, schools throughout the country will begin to look at models of integration — models like the JASON Project. And with today’s high school graduates entering a global job market, student performance in STEM fields is considered especially relevant.
Smalley was joined by Susan West, associate professor of biology at Texas State University; Ruth Turley, associate professor of sociology at Rice University and Director of the Houston Education Research Consortium; and H.D. Chambers, Superintendent of Alief ISD, to examine the barriers that Texas’s public education systems are facing in their pursuit to advance science curriculum and the impact it is having on students and teachers.
View the JASON Project Video