The 21st Century Biology project provided long-term teacher professional development for Utah high school teachers. Three cohorts of 24 teachers participated in a 2-week intensive Summer Institute that
* updated their content knowledge for topics covered by the five Utah Core Curriculum Standards;
* offered opportunities to interact with University scientists, provided experiences in inquiry-based learning;
* highlighted topics relevant to students’ lives;
* modeled culturally-sensitive instruction;
* incorporated appropriate use of technology;
* engaged them in learning curriculum design models and developing model lessons; and
* facilitated formation of professional learning groups.
Teachers then participated in follow-up workshops to continue the work begun during the Summer Institute.
To evaluate the impacts of the project, REA measured changes in teachers' pedagogical content knowledge and inquiry practices using surveys and classroom artifacts. For instance, REA looked at collections of lesson plans, student work, and teacher reflections to document how teachers had implemented what they had learned into their classroom practice.
Participation in the 21st Century Biology project led to some changes in teachers’
pedagogical content knowledge and practices. After the professional development, teachers were more likely to focus on experimental design and drawing conclusions as desirable characteristics of students’ actions while conducting scientific inquiries. Teachers also shifted from explaining that the best way to learn science was to “do science” to providing more details on the ways in which students and teachers should guide inquiry. Finally, after the 21CB project teachers rated their emphasis on classroom discussion to be closer to their ideal emphasis than it had been before.
Available upon request.