University of Rochester Warner School of Education
Science Knowledge Paper Science (2012 standards)
 
Candidate: Evaluator:
Semester and Year (required): Course #:
Date:
Description:
 
GUIDELINES
 
Length: 5-7 pages
 
Each of you majored in a particular scientific field, one that seeks to understand and make meaning of the world through a particular approach.  This paper asks you to describe that approach in terms of ways of being and knowing in your field. What does it mean to be a scientist from your perspective? The goal is to demonstrate that you know your subject matter well enough to be able to articulate its underpinnings and then make connections to how you might structure learning experiences for your students that are relevant to your discipline. If learning is a change in how one participates in culturally relevant activities (Rogoff, 2003) then how will you students learn to participate in your field? In other words how will you structure a classroom that teaches students to participate as biologists, chemists, etc.?
 
Howard Gardner (1994) writes,” Disciplines consist of approaches devised by scholars over the centuries in order to address essential questions, issues and phenomena drawn from the natural and human  worlds;  they  include  methods  of  inquiry,  network  of  concepts,  theoretical  frameworks, techniques for acquiring and verifying findings, appropriate images, symbols, vocabularies, and mental models. Over the centuries, human beings have developed these particular ways to look at the past, to understand biological beings, or to understand ourselves, which now proceed under the label of history, biology,  or  psychology.    Disciplines  are  dynamic.  Their  objects,  methods,  theories,  or  accounts stimulate controversy and evolve over time.”
 
Gardner is referring to the social nature of disciplinary knowledge. Some recent work has pushed to unpack the value of subject knowledge by building of the work of Lee Shulman. Shulman initiated a concept known as pedagogical knowledge. He was seeking to capture the use of content that enabled student learning, or to quote Ball’s work in math, “teacher’s use of math knowledge.”   Knowing the subject is still important – you cannot use something you do not know. But this is clearly a case of necessary but not sufficient. You need to have a particular understanding of that knowledge, one that is useful for student learning.
 
Ah, so easy to state, but so difficult to pin down. What then constitutes “useful” knowledge?  There have been two different research thrusts in answering this, both of which are important for our efforts as teacher educators. The first direction consists of teachers’ substantive understandings of their subject matter. This does include content (e.g. fractions, trigonometry, calculus) and procedures (long division, factoring) but also includes an understanding of concepts (parallelism, infinity, zero) and well as the relationship between each of the three. Try this in history: content (American Revolution, Renaissance), procedure (document based analysis) and concepts (federalism, nationalism).  The key is that teachers are able to hook content onto larger, core concepts and students see how the tools give them the ability to do the work of an historian or a scientist.
 
The second direction is in understanding the nature of science. That is, where does the discipline come from, how does it change, how is truth established, what does it mean to know and do the disciplinary work, what are the relative centrality of different ideas, what are the important debates? What do people in the field generally agree on and what is highly contested? How do they resolve philosophical conflicts? Think of global warming. How do scientists frame this issue? How is it studied? What is contested amongst scientists? How does the issue get politicized?
 
The goal of this paper is to provide an opportunity to demonstrate how well you know the subject that is your primary certification discipline. How well do you know the deep questions that people in your
 
 
1 Basic structure of this assignment designed by Brian Bailey, Yale University (2006).
 
field are struggling with and how will you use these deep questions to inform the ways in which you teach your students. To know well, for example, science, one needs to not just know facts about science; rather it is imperative that one also knows what it means to be a scientist. Absent such an understanding, teaching science becomes little more than giving out facts. Use this paper  to explore and  articulate essential  questions  in  your  field  and  how  they  should  play  out  in  secondary classrooms.  Compare your understandings of your particular field to experiences that you have had in science classes during you undergraduate program or in high school.
 
Specifically your paper should demonstrate your understandings of…
…your discipline, including:
The major concepts, principles, theories, laws and interrelationships of your field and supporting fields;
Important personal and technological applications of science in your field of licensure
The historical and cultural development of science and the evolution of knowledge in your discipline;
Socially important issues related to science and technology in your field of licensure, as well as
processes used to analyze and make decisions on such issues.
…science more generally, including:
The unifying concepts of science delineated by the National Science Education Standards
The philosophical tenets, assumptions, goals and values that distinguish science from technology and from other ways of knowing the world (nature of science);
The processes, tenets, and assumptions of multiple methods of inquiry leading to scientific knowledge;
The principles and concepts delineated in professional and New York State standards.
…and the teaching of these ideas:
What is necessary to create learning experiences that make the subject matter meaningful and relevant for all students
 
Gardner, H. & Dyson, V. (1994). Teaching for understanding in the disciplines – and beyond. Teachers
College Record, 96 (2), 198-218.
Rogoff, B. (2003). The Cultural Nature of Human Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


These rubrics will be used by the instructor to evaluate your paper. Students should also submit a self-assessment with the paper (1-4 points for each area).
 
Part I - NSTA Standards for Science teacher candidates
The following rubrics are intended to evaluate the extent to which in this assignment you have provided evidence of meeting the specific NSTA standards listed below, using the following definitions:

1.   Insufficient – i.e., this standard was not met.
2.   Emergent/needs improvement – i.e., there is only partial evidence that this standard was addressed or the standard was only partially addressed; more evidence is needed before determining proficiency with respect to this standard.
3.   Basic proficiency – i.e., the project provides sufficient evidence of addressing this standard at least at a basic level
4.   Outstanding performance – i.e., the project provides a great example of addressing this standard.

NSTA 2012 1: Content Knowledge 
NSTA 2012 1 Content Knowledge Effective teachers of science understand and articulate the knowledge and practices of contemporary science. They interrelate and interpret important concepts, ideas, and applications in their fields of licensure. __1  __2  __3  __4
(1)Unacceptable / Insufficient
Paper demonstrates insufficient understanding of the knowledge and practices of contemporary science. Evidence of interrelationship and interpretation of important concepts, ideas, and applications in their fields of licensure is missing.
(2) Needs Improvement / Emerging
Paper demonstrates basic understanding of the knowledge and practices of contemporary science. E Some evidence of interrelationship and interpretation of important concepts, ideas, and applications in their fields of licensure is included.
(3) Basic Proficiency
Paper demonstrates clear understanding of the knowledge and practices of contemporary science. Evidence of interrelationship and interpretation of important concepts, ideas, and applications in their fields of licensure is included.
(4) Outstanding Performance
Paper demonstrates advanced understanding of the knowledge and practices of contemporary science. Evidence of interrelationship and interpretation of important concepts, ideas, and applications in their fields of licensure is included.
NSTA 2012 1a Field of Licensure Pre-service teachers will understand most of the major concepts, principles, theories, laws, and interrelationships of their fields of licensure and supporting fields as recommended by the National Science Teachers Association __1  __2  __3  __4
(1)Unacceptable / Insufficient
Paper demonstrates insufficient knowledge and understanding of the major concepts, principles, theories, laws, and interrelationships of their fields of licensure and supporting fields as recommended by the National Science Teachers Association.
(2) Needs Improvement / Emerging
Paper demonstrates basic understanding of the major concepts, principles, theories, laws, and interrelationships of their fields of licensure and supporting fields as recommended by the National Science Teachers Association.
(3) Basic Proficiency
Paper demonstrates proficient understanding of most of the major concepts, principles, theories, laws, and interrelationships of their fields of licensure and supporting fields as recommended by the National Science Teachers Association.
(4) Outstanding Performance
Paper demonstrates detailed understanding of the major concepts, principles, theories, laws, and interrelationships of their fields of licensure and supporting fields as recommended by the National Science Teachers Association.
NSTA 2012 1b Supporting Disciplines and Science-Specific Technology Pre-service teachers will understand the central concepts of the supporting disciplines and the supporting role of science-specific technology. __1  __2  __3  __4
(1)Unacceptable / Insufficient
Paper demonstrates an insufficient understanding of the central concepts of the supporting disciplines and the supporting role of science-specific technology.
(2) Needs Improvement / Emerging
Paper demonstrates a basic understanding of the central concepts of the supporting disciplines and the supporting role of science-specific technology.
(3) Basic Proficiency
Paper demonstrates solid understanding of the central concepts of the supporting disciplines and the supporting role of science-specific technology.
(4) Outstanding Performance
Paper demonstrates detailed understanding of the central concepts of the supporting disciplines and the supporting role of science-specific technology.
NSTA 2012 1c Impact of Standards on Students Pre-service teachers will show an understanding of state and national curriculum standards and their impact on the content knowledge necessary for teaching P-12 students. __1  __2  __3  __4
(1)Unacceptable / Insufficient
Paper demonstrates insufficient understanding of state and national curriculum standards and their impact on the content knowledge necessary for teaching P-12 students.
(2) Needs Improvement / Emerging
Paper demonstrates a basic understanding of state and national curriculum standards and their impact on the content knowledge necessary for teaching P-12 students.
(3) Basic Proficiency
Paper demonstrates a proficient understanding of state and national curriculum standards and their impact on the content knowledge necessary for teaching P-12 students.
(4) Outstanding Performance
Paper demonstrates a detailed understanding of state and national curriculum standards and their impact on the content knowledge necessary for teaching P-12 students.
 
Part II - Warner School Science Standards
The following rubrics are intended to evaluate the extent to which in this assignment you have provided evidence of meeting the specific Warner School standards listed below, using the following definitions:

1.   Insufficient – i.e., this standard was not met.
2.   Emergent/needs improvement – i.e., there is only partial evidence that this standard was addressed or the standard was only partially addressed; more evidence is needed before determining proficiency with respect to this standard.
3.   Basic proficiency – i.e., the project provides sufficient evidence of addressing this standard at least at a basic level
4.   Outstanding performance – i.e., the project provides a great example of addressing this standard.

Nature of Science 
Science3 History of science Candidates have a solid understanding of the history of science, including the evolution of knowledge and impact on society. __1  __2  __3  __4
Science4 Understand nature of science Candidates have a solid understanding of the nature of science and can distinguish science from other content areas. __1  __2  __3  __4

Issues in Science 
Science6 Societal issues Candidates can identify important societal issues related to science and technology and understand scientific processes used to make decisions about such issues. __1  __2  __3  __4
 
Part III - Warner School Standards
The following rubrics are intended to evaluate the extent to which in this assignment you have provided evidence of meeting the specific Warner School science standards listed below, using the following definitions:

1.   Insufficient – i.e., this standard was not met.
2.   Emergent/needs improvement – i.e., there is only partial evidence that this standard was addressed or the standard was only partially addressed; more evidence is needed before determining proficiency with respect to this standard.
3.   Basic proficiency – i.e., the project provides sufficient evidence of addressing this standard at least at a basic level
4.   Outstanding performance – i.e., the project provides a great example of addressing this standard.

Warner School 1 CONTENT PRINCIPLE The teacher candidate understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches, as identified by relevant professional organizations, and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for all students.
WS 1.3 Curriculum standards Candidates are familiar with the principles and concepts delineated in professional, New York State, and Warner School Teaching and Curriculum standards, and their implications for curricular and instructional decisions. __1  __2  __3  __4
WS 1.4 Meaningful learning experiences Candidates are able to create learning experiences that make the subject matter meaningful and relevant for all students. __1  __2  __3  __4
 
Notes:

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