CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A new study from the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University shows that a teacher professional development program developed and run by the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago significantly improves student performance in science.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools officials joined Museum President David Mosena to unveil the study, which was funded by the Boeing Corporation and conducted by William Schmidt, Ph.D., a nationally recognized science curriculum expert from Michigan State University. More than 800 teachers, two-thirds of whom work in the Chicago Public Schools, have already benefited from the program. At the press conference, Mosena announced the Museum’s intention to work with 1,000 middle-grades teachers over the next five years.
“As champions of science and learning, we are using our content expertise, proven teaching strategies and world-class exhibits to improve science education in schools,” said Mosena.
Mayor Emanuel outlined Chicago’s broad efforts to improve STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, which has a goal of tripling the number of students with STEM credentials by 2018. “I would like to thank the Museum of Science and Industry for partnering with the City as we work to expand access to STEM education for Chicago’s teachers and students,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Our partnership with MSI also reflects the opportunities available to help support our teachers while creating a roadmap for students of a cradle to career STEM education by leveraging our City’s world-class, civically-engaged cultural institutions, businesses and non-profits. Our goal as a City is for every child to be 100% college ready and 100% college bound, so that we prepare our children with the academic foundation and skills to be the next leaders in the 21st century highly-specialized, technical economy.”
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who grew up in Hyde Park and has been a frequent visitor to the Museum, said “Improving STEM education is a national priority. It’s great to have strong outside partners like MSI to supplement STEM teaching in our schools. Museums all across America can play a key role in enriching education for children.”
At the press conference, Professor Schmidt said that science student performance in the United States is lagging on both U.S. and international tests, in part because so many teachers lack the skills and the support they need to make it more engaging. “Many professional development programs are not very effective,” Schmidt said. “The Museum’s program is, and we now have the proof.”
The Museum’s program targets 4th-8th grade teachers with limited or no background in science or science teaching, but who are nevertheless expected to teach science. Teachers at schools with predominately low-income, high-need student populations are top priority, and the Museum reduces barriers to participation by offering courses at no cost.
The study’s conclusion about the effectiveness of MSI’s teacher training is unambiguous: “Not only does the … program have a direct effect on teacher knowledge, but the program also positively impacted student performance …”
For the full press release and more information on the study, visit msichicago.org/CASEstudy.