HHS Teachers Attend Workshop on STEM Testing

Jessica Terrizzi

Over 100 teachers, including some from Hawthorne High School, attended a workshop called Project 2016 the week of August 13, 2012. This workshop devoted three days to professional development and focused on the testing of students in mathematics and science.

The New Jersey Department of Education, along with Rowan University, Montclair State University, and Stevens Institute of Technology funded Project 2061. This project was part of a summer professional development program, and teachers from all different grade levels attended with higher education faculty and administrators. Project 2061 focused on the next Common Core Standards of teaching and learning science, which are going to be released in 2013. It was also a goal of the workshop to make improvements in STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Participants discussed the possibility that students are having some difficulties on the standardized testing because of unfamiliar language and unclear illustrations.

During the week-long program, teachers explored many aspects of student assessment. For example, teachers learned how to evaluate the alignment of test items to the ideas students are expected to know, how to focus more closely on identifying students’ misconceptions, how to align curriculum and assessments to content standards, and how to construct valid multiple-choice questions and appropriate questions for pre-assessing students’ knowledge.

Hawthorne teachers Ann Kinney, Carol Murphy, and Pamela Fadden all attended the Project 2061 workshop at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. All three of these teachers had previously attended two-week C-Teams (CurriculumTopic-Study to Enhance Achievement in Mathematics and Science) programs in order to be eligible for the leadership institute “Developing and Using Assessments Aligned to Math & Science Learning Goals.”

Pamela Fadden, math teacher at HHS stated, “Teachers are anxious about assessments because of the new standards and how standardized tests do not currently match up. Teachers are also anxious because 50 percent of our yearly teacher evaluations will based on student standardized test scores. This workshop showed us how to bridge the gap between new state and national standards, research on student learning, and classroom practice.”

On January 21, 2012, Hawthorne middle school and high school math and science teachers plan to meet together to devote three hours of their Professional Development workshop day so that the three teachers who attended the Project 2061 workshop can share what they learned.