The Effect of a State Department of Education Teacher Mentor Initiative on Science Achievement
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- Pruitt, S.L. & Wallace, C.S. J Sci Teacher Educ (2012) 23: 367. doi:10.1007/s10972-012-9280-5
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This study investigated the effectiveness of a southern state’s department of education program to improve science achievement through embedded professional development of science teachers in the lowest performing schools. The Science Mentor Program provided content and inquiry-based coaching by teacher leaders to science teachers in their own classrooms. The study analyzed the mean scale scores for the science portion of the state’s high school graduation test for the years 2004 through 2007 to determine whether schools receiving the intervention scored significantly higher than comparison schools receiving no intervention. The results showed that all schools achieved significant improvement of scale scores between 2004 and 2007, but there were no significant performance differences between intervention and comparison schools, nor were there any significant differences between various subgroups in intervention and comparison schools. However, one subgroup, economically disadvantaged (ED) students, from high-level intervention schools closed the achievement gap with ED students from no-intervention schools across the period of the study. The study provides important information to guide future research on and design of large-scale professional development programs to foster inquiry-based science.