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BSP Profile

Boston Science Partnership


The Boston Science Partnership (BSP) is comprised of the following core partners: the Boston Public Schools (BPS), Northeastern University (NEU) and the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB), with UMB as the lead organization. The Harvard Medical School and the College Board participate as supporting partners.

This Partnership comes together to significantly enhance student achievement and teacher quality in grades 6-12 science. The BSP vision is that challenging science courses will be taught by highly qualified teachers; advanced science courses will be accessible to all BPS students; university faculty will work side-by-side with K-12 teachers in science education reform; and structures will be in place to promote student achievement in grade 6 through graduate-level study in science and engineering.

The goals of the Partnership are the following:
-- To raise BPS student achievement in science;
-- To significantly improve the quality of BPS science teachers;
-- To increase the number of students who succeed in higher-level courses in science and who are admitted to and retained in university science and engineering programs;
-- To improve science teaching both in BPS and at the universities; and
-- To institutionalize these changes so that the Boston Science Partnership and its work will be sustained.

Distinctive strategies that support the BSP in obtaining its goals include:
-- Combining the College Board's vertical teaming approach with BPS' own Collaborative Coaching and Learning (CCL) model, which requires teachers to inquire into their own and each other's teaching practices in an effort to improve student achievement;
-- Collaboration by science professors and BPS science teachers to develop graduate courses that contextualize content in support of the specific curriculum that teachers are expected to deliver in BPS classrooms; and
-- Joining together of engineering faculty and BPS science teachers to interpret the technology/engineering strand of the Massachusetts Science Frameworks in light of the national technology frameworks, and to create a graduate course in engineering that prepares teachers to teach this material as part of the science curriculum.

Evaluation measures associated with project implementation will be complemented by research efforts intended to answer questions such as the following:
-- What are the institutional capacities and barriers of UMB and NEU that will advance or inhibit the sustainability of the innovations they have initiated within their own institutions through the BSP?
-- What are the institutional capacities and barriers that explain the abilities of UMB and NEU to achieve authentic and sustainable collaborations with each other in order to improve science teaching and learning within BPS?
-- How do the strategies that UMB and NEU use to manage their capacities and barriers to change enhance the field's understanding of and ability to achieve sustainable change within institutions of higher education?
-- What are the roles that vertical teaming, contextualized courses, and the use of the CCL model play in the development of high-quality teachers?
-- In what ways does science instruction in university science courses improve as a result of science professors' a) increased knowledge about how students learn, b) increased knowledge of current practices in K-12 science education, including the National Science Education Standards and inquiry-based pedagogy, and c) observations of high-quality K-12 science teachers and participation in debriefing discussions about their inquiry-based teaching practices?
The BSP research agenda will be carried out jointly by UMB and the Education Development Center (EDC). The Program Evaluation and Research Group (PERG) at Lesley University will provide leadership for project evaluation.

The work of the BSP has the potential of impacting 14,759 students in grades 6-8, 18,305 students in grades 9-12, 186 full-time science teachers, and 256 teachers who teach science part of the day.