LSSU Response to

Periodic Review/Program Evaluation Recommendations

 

Recommendations from Review Panel Regarding Programs to Prepare

Teachers of ELEMENTARY Integrated Science (DI)

 

August 16, 2006

 

The faculty at Lake Superior State University appreciate the opportunity to provide additional information and address the concerns noted in the careful review of the Elementary Integrated Science (DI) application submitted in February 2005.  The items noted in the Reviewer’s recommendations have been separated below into a numbered list to facilitate careful analysis of each point.  All changes made in response to the recommendations of the reviewers have been posted to the LSSU PR/PE website: http://education.lssu.edu/PRPE.  Changes (as noted in the narrative below) to the application are noted with bold text on the main page, and hyperlinks are provided to the revised versions of Form XX, instructional faculty and the Standards Matrix for the Elementary-DI program.

 

We believe we have made a careful effort to address the points noted by the reviewers, yet if additional questions arise, or we can further clarify the strengths of our program, we look forward to the opportunity to address those issues as well.  We thank the reviewers for their careful and thoughtful analysis. 

Additional information needed/action to be taken:

 

Standard 1.4.2 (K-8 matrix) – theory of evolution is not met.  Please provide narrative within matrix explaining how this standard is met.  Currently there is no narrative, and the syllabus accessed by the link provided offers little or no indication that this standard is met.

Evolution is an integrative concept in BL107 Field Biology, discussed throughout the term but not as a separate unit. For example, discussions of niches incorporates discussion of the evolutionary costs and benefits of niche occupation as well as niche differentiation and limiting similarity. Discussion of phyla includes discussion of adaptive radiation of root phyla. Homologous structures within major body plans are discussed as well as monophyletic nature of orders. Independent evolution of particular traits and convergent evolution, and coevolutionary relationships are discussed as part of the ecological discussions.  For students taking BL131 and BL132, evolution is likewise threaded throughout the entire discussion. 

 

Standard 1.4.3 (K-8 matrix) – fossils/ancient life is not met. Please provide narrative within matrix explaining how this standard is met.  Currently there is no narrative, and the syllabus accessed by the link provided offers little or no indication that this standard is met.

Again, in BL107 Field Biology, there is discussion of the evidence for evolution, and we certainly discuss the role of fossils. In discussing evolutionary development, we discuss ancient life. the geological time frame of these developments would be described.

 

Standard 1.4.4 (K-8 matrix) – extinction is not met.  Please provide narrative within matrix explaining how this standard is met.  Currently there is no narrative, and the syllabus accessed by the link provided offers little or no indication that this standard is met.

The risk of extinction is discussed in BL107 Field Biology when describing conservation concerns. we do not have a 'unit' on extinction but it is woven into the discussion of conservation concerns of the various taxa we discuss. local examples include modern extinctions such as passenger pigeon, endangered species such as piping plover, prehistoric extinctions such as post-pleistocene megafauna. again, these are woven through the discussion, not treated separately.

 

Standard 1.6.2 (K-8 matrix) – disease and immunology is not met. Please provide narrative within matrix explaining how this standard is met.  Currently there is no narrative, and the syllabus accessed by the link provided offers little or no indication that this standard is met.

NS103 provides the candidate an broad exposure to issues and concerns of the environment.  Candidates discuss in class, and through assignments and laboratory activities, a wide range of subjects.  In Chapter 16 of Environmental Science: Toward a Sustainable Future 8th Ed. by Wright and Nebel, the students examine issues of environmental hazards facing humans, and the topics of human health and disease.  We have expanded the course objectives found in the expanded NS103 Syllabus, and copied the Ch. 16 objectives below, to assist the reviewers in identifying the content from the course addressing Standards 1.6.2 and 1.6.3.

Ch 16: Environmental Hazards and Human Health: Key issues and topics:

  1. Life expectancy is rising worldwide, yet ten million deaths occur yearly in children under the age of five in the developing world. What are the major causes of death in developing and developed countries?
  2. Exposure to hazards in the human environment brings about the risk of injury, disease, and death. What kinds of cultural factors, infectious diseases, physical factors, and toxic chemicals are most important in this regard?
  3. Hazards take many pathways in mediating environmental risks to humans. In what ways do the following bring harm: poverty, smoking, malarial disease, and indoor air?
  4. Risk analysis is a scientific tool that the EPA is applying to its regulatory work. How is risk analysis practiced by scientists and employed in policy development?
  5. The public often perceives risks differently from the experts. What is the significance of risk perception in policy development?

 

Standard 1.6.3 (K-8 matrix) – health habits is not met. Please provide narrative within matrix explaining how this standard is met.  Currently there is no narrative, and the syllabus accessed by the link provided offers little or no indication that this standard is met

Please see the discussion under Standard 1.6.2 above

Standard 1.8.1 – 1.8.9 (K-8 matrix) - Inorganic Chemistry – NS 110 Chemistry in Society is cited for these standards, but there are no narratives provided.  The syllabus accessed by the link provided is very general.  Please provide narrative and specifically state the coursework and course outcomes that meet these standards.

We recognize that the syllabus provided did not identify the core concepts with sufficient detail.  To this end we have provided more complete course objectives as described in the expanded NS110 SyllabusIn the revised Standards Matrix we have aligned the individual standards 1.8.1 through 1.8.9 with the sections in the textbook and course to which they apply.  The American Chemical Society publication Chemistry in Context,which we use in this course, uses a very effective instructional model where students are introduced to relevant environmental issues for which the underlying chemical concepts are then developed on an as-needed basis.  Chemical concepts are still developed along traditional lines (atoms to molecules to reactions), but under the guise and conceptual mapping of the environmental/health related topical themes.

 

Standard 1.74 (K-8 matrix) – astronomy.  The matrix cites two courses meeting standard 1.7.4, GE 121 Physical and Historical Geology I and NS 102 Introduction to Geology.  Form XX, Application Attachment 3, indicates that a teacher candidate may choose either course.  The NS 102 syllabus provides little or no evidence that this standard is met. Please provide narrative within matrix explaining how this standard is met if a candidate chooses NS 102 rather than GE 121.

The department recognizes that the astronomy content of NS102 (as originally presented) did not provide sufficient depth or coverage of the required content to meet the standard.  We have modified our program application to require students to complete GE 121 (expanded objectives for GE 121-122)  Physical and Historical Geology I  for the minor and endorsement programs.  The we note that the reviewers accepted this course as meeting the standards for astronomy, and that the course objectives outlined the essential topics in astronomy.  Elementary integrated science majors will continue to be required to take NS119 Astronomy.   We have modified the program narrative and Form XX to reflect this change in requirements.

 

Standard 2.0 (K-8 matrix) - apply mathematics, including statistics....  The only course cited for this standard is MA 207.  This is not a required or elective course for the Integrated Science: Elementary programs.  Please provide narrative, including course names and numbers, within matrix explaining how the institution meets this standard if MA 207 is not required by all teacher candidates, or provide syllabus and confirm that MA 207 is required for all elementary major, minor, and endorsement only candidates.

Effective with the fall of 2005, MA207 Statistics  was a program requirement for all teacher candidates.  This requirement is reflected in our Undergraduate Handbook, and stated as a requirement for graduation.  In order to simplify this application, and to address the standard for individuals seeking to add the elementary integrated science endorsement, we will add MA207 Principles of Statistics to the program requirements (major/minor/endorsement) and reflect this change in the program narrative (2.b) and on Form XX.  This change will increase the apparent program size by three semester credits.

 

Standard 6.0 (K-8 matrix) - safe science classroom. Please include direct references to the safe standards as identified by the Council of State Science Supervisors.  The guidelines, checklist and recommendations can be accessed at http://www.csss-science.org/safety.shtml.

 We have submitted a revised syllabus for TE421 Elementary Science Methods - Departmental Syllabus, which explicitly identifies the content standards in the areas of safety, reference to the Council of State Science Supervisors, and the safety requirement in the unit plan.  We held discussions on both topics in the classes, and students were required to identify the safety concerns in the lessons they developed.  We have included in the departmental syllabus (linked above) those standards from the elementary DI program which are identified for this course.  Discussion of safety issues is also explicitly required in the unit plan.

Standard 9.0 (K-8 matrix) - develop an understanding and appreciation for the nature of scientific inquiry is not met. Please provide narrative within matrix explaining how this standard is met.  Currently there is no narrative, and the syllabus accessed by the link provided offers little or no indication that this standard is met.

 We have submitted a revised departmental syllabus for TE421 Elementary Science Methods, which explicitly identifies the content standards in scientific inquiry.  We hold discussion on this topic and students develop inquiry based science lessons.  We have included in the departmental syllabus (linked above) those standards from the elementary DI program which are identified for this course. 

Please provide faculty information for course NS 103 and LAB 104 Introduction to Environmental Science listed on Application Attachment 3 – Form XX.  No faculty member is currently identified on the instructional faculty form for NS 103 and LAB 104.

The instructor for NS103/104 is Dr. David Szlag.  He has been included on the revised instructional faculty form.  We regret the omission from the original application.

The sequence of courses portion of the program summary is unclear. LSSU states, Teacher candidates seeking a comprehensive group science endorsement complete a 74-semester hour program.” Form XX indicates semester hours to be 39 for a major and 27 hours for both a minor and an endorsement.  Please clarify this inconsistency.  Is the institution referring to the elementary or secondary program?

Inconsistent language in the program application, no doubt the result of poor editing by this author, has been clarified in Section 2.b.  The reference to the comprehensive endorsement was indeed relevant to the secondary program.  Based on the revisions suggested by the reviewers, and modifications to Form XX, the elementary major is now proposed at 44 semester credits.  Other language in this section has been corrected to reflect only the requirements and outcomes of the elementary DI program.

 

The program summary portion describing differences that may exist between elementary or secondary preparation to teach in each major or minor is insufficient. Please expand beyond, “The chemistry endorsement is only available to secondary candidates.” Include the differences between the secondary comprehensive group major, secondary Endorsement Only, elementary group major, elementary group minor, and the elementary Endorsement Only programs in preparing teacher candidates to teach.

Inconsistent language in the program narrative section 2.d has been rewritten to address the elementary integrated science program, and the differences between this program and the secondary program.

 

The program summary describing how the program incorporates gender equity….lacks detail.  Please expand on how the program incorporates gender equity, multi-cultural, and global perspectives into the teaching of the subject area.  The program summary lists where this is addressed, but not how.  Provide specific examples.

Inconsistent language in the program narrative section 2.e has been rewritten to address the elementary integrated science program,

 

Provide additional documentation and evidence for elementary teacher candidates in the instructional methods portion of the supporting documentation. Documentation refers to chemistry candidates and secondary candidate courses.

Inconsistent language in the program narrative section 2.f has been rewritten to address the elementary integrated science program,

 

Please add course descriptions for BL 131 General Biology I and BL 132 General Biology II.  Neither of these courses are listed and described on the course descriptions portion of the supporting documentation, but are included on Form XX, Application Attachment 3

The omission of course descriptions for BL131 and 132 was a result of a course renumbering by the department.  The courses formerly identified as BL109 and BL110/111 were renumbered, in the time since the original application, to BL131 and BL132 respectively.  BL110/111 were half-semester courses combined into a single course.  Since the submission of this program application the university has re-prefixed all courses, so that in the future biology courses will be identified as BIOL, such that BL131 will be BIOL131.  The course descriptions for General Biology I and II are as follows – taken from the 2005-2006 university catalog:  (Available online at: http://www.collegesource.org/displayinfo/catalink.asp?tig=%7B382A319D-24C5-4FC3-82F0-001F58B8C6BC%7D&dig=%7B65F251D2-3172-40AD-B8CF-EAC0FD72776A%7D&oig=%7B2C72E220-6459-4CDC-A775-D7C6CE44CDB8%7D&vt=2)

 

BL131 General Biology I (3,2) 4

An introduction to general biology. This course will provide an overview of biology and serve as a framework for further biological studies. Deliberations on the nature and philosophy of science (especially biology) will provide a basis for discussion of ecology, evolution, and cell biology. Prerequisites: Satisfy the LSSU reading profi ciency requirement; MA086, EN091, or equivalent scores on the math and English placement exams.

 

BL132 General Biology II (3,3) 4

An introduction to the diversity of life, including the morphology, physiology, reproduction, general habitats and taxonomy of organisms. Adaptation to environment and modern concepts of evolution are stressed as unifying themes

throughout the course. Prerequisite: BL131. Note: “C” (2.0) or better is required to use this course as a prerequisite for other BL/EV courses.

 

 

Currently, only 2 out of 11 members of faculty listed on the instructional faculty form have any “Familiarity with K-12 Curriculum Framework and MEAP Assessment.”  Reviewers suggest establishing an action plan to familiarize science faculty with K-12 Curriculum Framework and MEAP Assessment.  In addition, 6 out of 11 faculty member listed have any “P-12 Collaboration work.”  Several do not appear to be recurring collaboration.  For example, “Presentations to local schools on Career day” appears to happen randomly.  Reviewers suggest establishing an action plan for an on-going collaboration with various schools.

 

The School of Education will work with the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District and the EUP Math/Science Center to hold faculty training sessions in the fall of 2006 to redress the issue of awareness of the MCF and MEAP.  We recognize the importance of this awareness, and that our making the disciplinary faculty aware of the requirement did not equate with their participating in the training opportunities that were offered in the past.  We have the support of our Provost/Academic VP to promote this training and are confident that we will make significant inroads into raising the awareness of our content-area faculty.  A letter of support from the EUPIDS is copied below.

 

-------- Original Message --------

Subject:

Re: fall faculty training

Date:

Thu, 20 Jul 2006 15:34:07 -0400

From:

Michelle Ribant <mribant@eup.k12.mi.us>

To:

David Myton <dmyton@lssu.edu>

References:

<44BFB3B0.8000205@lssu.edu>



Dave - We at the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District, especially the General Education staff, will be most willing to conduct either half day or short seminar presentations to your staff on the content specific Michigan Curriculum Frameworks and the associated Grade Level Content Expectations (the assessment piece) as well as the very new High School Content Expectations.  I am imagining that you will want to either have a large group session with Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies professors and then maybe breakouts around the specific contents?  The large group could then come back together or meet a second time for a short period to talk about the ramifications of testing; MEAP, AYP, NCLB?  We could also work with each group separately. Your call as to what would work best with the faculty.  The first week of school is typically a good week for us as our districts are extremely busy getting things underway.  If that week would work for you, pick some dates, times and we will go from there.  Michelle Ribant, Curriculum Coordinator, EUPISD