The 2006-11 Regional Educational Laboratory West at WestEd has concluded a rigorous experimental study of the effects of the Making Sense of ScienceTM Force and Motion professional development program. The program is designed to improve teachers’ pedagogical and science content knowledge.
The study, Effects of Making Sense of SCIENCETM professional development on the achievement of middle school students, including English language learners, found that grade 8 teachers who received the professional development had greater content knowledge about force and motion and confidence in teaching force and motion than teachers who did not receive the professional development. However, there was no impact of the program on students’ physical science test scores.
The Making Sense of ScienceTM Force and Motion course for teachers incorporates physical science content, analysis of student work and thinking, and classroom instruction to develop teacher expertise about force and motion and science instruction. The course emphasizes inquiry-based instruction practices.