Featured News:

Videos of Noyce Foundation Bright Lights Community Engagement Award winners

The Noyce Foundation, in collaboration with Stephen Brown and his team from Mobile Digital Arts, is pleased to share these video stories of the seven Bright Lights Award winners. We encourage you to watch and share these wonderful examples of community engagement.

Noyce Foundation Bright Lights Community Engagement Awards

With great pleasure, the Noyce Foundation announces the winners of the Bright Lights Community Engagement Awards competition. This initiative was created to recognize U.S. science centers, children’s museums, and natural history museums that have done an outstanding job of engaging with their local communities. Of particular interest were outreach efforts that included some aspect of science, technology, engineering, or math.

In all, 94 completed applications were received in mid May, representing a broad spectrum of institutions from across the U.S. After three intensive rounds of judging by 15 expert judges, seven organizations were selected as truly exceptional for the depth, breath, and impact of their community outreach work. Common to all the winners was their ability to reach out to parts of their communities that have needs not typically recognized or addressed by science centers. While all of the applicants described great work, the goal of these Awards was to discover and shine a light on those willing to embrace their communities in new and profound ways.

The seven Bright Lights Community Engagement Award winners selected by the judges are:
Explora (Albuquerque, NM)
Hands on Children’s Museum (Olympia, WA)
Science Museum of Minnesota (Saint Paul, MN)
Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, CA)
Museum of Science and Industry (Tampa, FL)
The Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, PA)
The Tech Museum of Innovation (San Jose, CA)

In addition, two organizations, which have quite new but very promising programs, are being highlighted with Honorable Mention awards:
Great Lakes Science Center (Cleveland, OH)
University of Montana spectrUM Discovery Area (Missoula, MT)

In order for others to learn from their work, the seven winners are committed to sharing their experiences with interested organizations. In addition, a video telling the stories of the winners will be available to all in several months, and their work will be highlighted at professional meetings and other venues.

Science Instructional Time Is Declining in Elementary Schools: What are the Implications for Student Achievement and Closing the Gap?

A new analysis of national and state-level data has addressed the question of how much actual instructional time is devoted to science instruction in the elementary grades and what are the trends over time. The analysis, conducted by Rolf Blank, also addressed the relationship of science instructional time to student achievement in science. Teacher reports for core subjects show time for science instruction has declined steadily over the past 20 years. Time spent on science in several states was twice the average instructional time provided in other states, and California ranked among the states with the least science instructional time. Read PACE’s (Policy Analysis for California Education) blog post here, and you can find the full research paper by Rolf Blank in Science Education here.

Working Paper: How Cross-Sector Collaborations are Advancing STEM Learning

STEM learning ecosystems harness unique contributions of educators, policymakers, families, and others in symbiosis toward a comprehensive vision of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for all children. This paper, by Kathleen Traphagen & Saskia Traill and commissioned by the Noyce Foundation, describes the attributes and strategies of 15 leading ecosystem efforts throughout the country that include a cross-sector collaboration among formal K-12 education, after-school or summer programs, and/or some type of science-expert organization. You can read the full report and the executive summary here.

Edutopia names Inside Mathematics one of the best Common Core Math resources for high school educators
Matt Davis at Edutopia writes that the Inside Mathematics website gives a good picture of the Common Core standards for mathematical practice:
"Common Core Proficiencies From Inside Mathematics: What does the Common Core look like in the classroom? This great video series from Inside Mathematics offers a definitive look at practice standards for each grade. Not to mention, the videos also offer examples of each proficiency in the context of lessons. On the site, you'll also find links to useful classroom tools for the Common Core.” Read the article here.

Monitoring What Matters About Context and Instruction in Science Education: A NAEP Data Analysis Report
This report, prepared for the National Assessment Governing Board by Alan Friedman and Alan Ginsburg, explores NAEP background variables to examine key context and instructional factors behind science learning for eighth grade students. Key findings include, among others, that students who agree strongly that they take science for extrinsic reasons -- science is required or science is of benefit for the future—tend to have lower NAEP science scores, while students who like science, do science afterschool, or say science is their favorite subject tend to have significantly higher NAEP scores. Friedman and Ginsburg found that the percentage of 8th grade teachers of science who actually have a science degree is decreasing. You can read the full report and recommendations to NAGB here.

Game-Changers and the Assessment Predicament in Afterschool Science
How do we assess the quality and effect of afterschool science programming when many existing assessment tools focus on the very different world of school science? The report Game-Changers and the Assessment Predicament in Afterschool Science, authored by Drs. Gil Noam and Ashima Shah, grew out of a two-day summit in Irvine, CA last summer, organized by the Board of Science Education at the National Research Council and the Program in Education, Afterschool, and Resiliency (PEAR) at Harvard University and McLean Hospital. This report is intended to serve as a platform for a long-term strategy for research into and evaluation of how we facilitate learning and engage children in science during out-of-school time (OST). As many U.S. students fall behind in the mastery of STEM subjects, OST represents a rich opportunity to strengthen children’s interest, motivation and skills. We need superb afterschool science programming to do this. This paper was organized by the authors to present four educational game-changers to help shape how we assess OST science learning. These game-changers have great potential for the afterschool science field.

Google celebrates Robert Noyce's birthday with a Doodle on December 12, 2011.

See the related article in the Washington Post.

News About Noyce Foundation Grantees:

Afterschool Matters journal issue on STEM
The Spring 2013 issue of the Afterschool Matters journal focuses entirely on STEM. Afterschool Matters, the peer-reviewed journal of the afterschool field, is published by the National Institute on Out-of-School Time. Article topics include models of STEM learning in afterschool, integrating math into library programs, STEM programs for adolescent girls, public television STEM outreach resources, survey findings of characteristics of out-of-school time STEM programs, STEM in expanded learning systems, and an essay by an afterschool practitioner on STEM learning and professional development in his particular program. You can download the issue here.

The Noyce Leadership Institute announces its 2013-2014 Noyce Leadership Fellows
The Noyce Leadership Institute (NLI) hones the leadership talents of executives in science centers, children’s museums, and related institutions. NLI is committed to expanding the impact of these organizations in their communities by increasing the capacity of their leaders to manage change, focus outward, engage peers, and form key partnerships. NLI’s change theory posits that skilled, forward-looking leaders are essential if our world is to have thriving, high-impact, publicly relevant hubs for informal science education and learning for all ages. In the end, these vital hubs are where youth are encouraged to choose careers in science or at least reduce their fears of math and technical fields, and where adults are helped to understand the crucial role science plays in their everyday lives and decision-making. Since 2008, 88 Fellows and 60 Sponsors have participated in NLI. These individuals represent 70 institutions from 23 nations. The current Fellows (Cohort 5) will conclude the active phase of the program in April 2013. The upcoming 2013-2014 Fellowship (Cohort 6) begins Spring 2013.

Youth Outcomes and Indicators for Afterschool STEM
Last week, the Alliance released the results of its research on appropriate, desired, and achievable STEM outcomes in afterschool programs, “Defining Youth Outcomes for STEM Learning in Afterschool.” The report concludes a 10-month study that asked experienced afterschool providers and supporters to identify outcomes, indicators, and sub-indicators that provide a framework to map afterschool program contributions to larger STEM education goals. There was a clear consensus that afterschool programs help youth to develop an interest in STEM and STEM learning activities, develop capacities to productively engage in STEM learning activities, and come to value the goals of STEM and STEM learning activities. In addition, there was agreement that afterschool STEM programs are best positioned to impact indicators of learning in the following rank order:

1. Active participation in STEM learning opportunities
2. Curiosity about STEM topics, concepts or practices
3. Ability to productively engage in STEM processes of investigation
4. Awareness of STEM professions
5. Ability to exercise STEM relevant life and career skills
6. Understanding the value of STEM in society

The Alliance makes recommendations to policy makers, program leaders, and evaluation and assessment experts based on these findings to move the afterschool field forward. Read more about it in the Alliance’s blog post on the study. The report was funded by the S.D. Bechtel , Jr. and Noyce foundations and was released at the Change the Equation STEM Salon in January, where the Alliance’s STEM Policy Director Anita Krishnamurthi and Ron Ottinger joined a panel at the STEM Salon to discuss the study.

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News About Friends of the Noyce Foundation:

Paul Goren selected as Superintendent of Evanston/Skokie School District

Noyce trustee Paul Goren has been selected by the Evanston/Skokie District 65 school board as the district's next superintendent, to begin in July. Paul works as a senior vice president at the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) in Chicago and serves on the board for Youth Organizations Umbrella, an Evanston nonprofit that works with local schools. He has been a trustee of the Noyce Foundation since 2012.

Stars of STEM Award

The Museum of Science in Boston honored Penny Noyce and the Noyce Foundation as 2013 Stars of STEM. In accepting the Stars of STEM award, Penny Noyce said, "The Noyce Foundation wants to see kids inspired by the challenges and possibilities science offers. Kids need to know that through their knowledge of science and engineering, they can make the world a better place. Science museums, afterschool programs, and great teachers are all key to making that inspiration happen." You can see the Museum of Science’s video about the Noyce Foundation, its programs, and its co-founders Ann Bowers and Penny Noyce here.

Penny Noyce Appointed to Massachusetts Education Board
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick appointed Dr. Pendred "Penny" Noyce to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in October. In addition to being the co-founder of the Noyce Foundation, Dr. Noyce is a former practicing doctor of internal medicine and currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors at the Rennie Center for Education and Policy Research where she advocates on behalf of public education in Massachusetts. She has authored several educational children's books as well as a non-fiction piece on educational assessments and their relationship to student achievement. Commissioner Mitchell Chester said of Dr. Noyce, "she has demonstrated a passion and commitment to providing a strong education for each and every student. Dr. Noyce is an excellent selection, and I look forward to her contributions and her expertise on the State Board."

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Noyce Foundation Areas of Interest:

Math and Science Engagement brief
There are promising indications that brief interventions targeting students’ thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in and about school have long-lasting effects on academic engagement and achievement. In Math and Science Engagement: Identifying the processes and psychological theories that underlie successful social-psychological interventions, Nancy Stano of the University of Texas-Austin summarizes the leading research on productive persistence, student motivation, and social-psychological interventions in education. Examples of successful interventions include:

• Students completed a 15-minute in-class exercise during which they wrote about values that were personally important to them. This brief intervention led to an increase in the academic achievement of African-American students by .30 grade points and reduced the achievement gap between African-American and Caucasian students by 40% that term. Further, this effect on achievement persisted past the first term as demonstrated by a .46 grade point improvement among low-performing African-American students after two years. (Cohen, Garcia, Purdie-Vaughns, Apfel, & Brzustoski, 2009; Cohen, Garcia, Apfel, & Master, 2006)

• Students periodically wrote brief essays on how the material they were studying in their high school science class could be applied to their lives. Among students with low initial expectations for success, those who participated in these writing tasks earned grades that were .80 points higher than their peers who instead summarized what had been discussed in class that week. (Hulleman & Harackiewicz, 2009)

The purpose of this brief, commissioned by the Noyce Foundation, is to identify psychological factors that contribute to student engagement and persistence, to illuminate the separate processes underlying successful social-psychological interventions, and to provide specific examples that illustrate how successful programs can address non-cognitive factors.

Reversing the Swing from Science: Implications from a Century of Research
A review of research on how to increase student interest in science was prepared by Cary Sneider of Portland State University for the ITEST convening “Advancing Research on Youth Motivation in STEM” in September. Findings consistent across multiple studies include: student attitudes are malleable; age 8-13 is a critical period for influencing youth; students who like science get turned off in school; and engaging teaching methods can make a difference for students. You can download the paper here.

The 95 Percent Solution: School Is Not Where Most Americans Learn Most of Their Science
It is common knowledge that U.S. students have fallen behind in the acquisition of science knowledge and that the necessary solution is greater investment and better practices in our schools. But is better schooling really the solution? Drawing on a large base of research, John Falk and Lynn Dierking demonstrate that by the time U.S. citizens are young adults, they are better informed about science than their international peers; that the most important sources of scientific knowledge are not schools; and that the informal infrastructure of museums, aquariums, broadcast programming and other sources of science exposure, with which the United States is richly endowed, is a far more potent source of public understanding of science than has been previously acknowledged. Download Falk and Dierking’s article in Nov/Dec 2010 American Scientist here.

Science for All: What do Our Kids Say?
How do we interest more children in science – particularly those who come from communities not well served by classroom, informal, after-school, or summer science programs? The Noyce Foundation partnered with Techbridge, the World Café Community Foundation, and Youth Radio to host a series of conversations on science with 7th and 8th graders from Edendale Middle School in San Lorenzo, California. Highlights of these conversations can be seen in the video “Science for All: What Do Our Kids Say?” The video was created as part of the Noyce Foundation’s efforts to encourage science in afterschool programs which offer a safe, hands-on setting for kids to explore science ideas in ways that aren’t possible in school. The video illustrates what youth think about science and what would turn them on to learning science. The accompanying “conversation guide” was developed by the project partners to share what they learned about creating similar conversations with youth that could be used as a way to help invite and motivate youth to become more engaged in science activities and learning in and out of school.

Pathways Report: Dead Ends and Wrong Turns on the Path Through Algebra
This report by Steve Waterman, educational consultant and former superintendent of Brisbane and Bayshore school districts, reflects on the implications of a study that examines the progression of students in several Bay Area school districts as they proceed from eighth to ninth grade math classes. The findings indicate that students and their parents face a bewildering array of course titles, that many students – even those who are successful – repeat Algebra, that repeating Algebra is not certain to yield better grades in ninth grade, and that placement decisions are correlated to ethnicity and parent education, but not gender. The study was funded by the Noyce Foundation.

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