Center for Curriculum Materials in Science

AAAS Project 2061, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, University of Michigan

CCMS Core Principles

Taking account of policy contexts

Curriculum materials development, selection, and implementation take place in a world that is shaped by people’s beliefs and values and in which social structures, personal leadership, and political determination play a part. At the Center for Curriculum Materials in Science (CCMS), we believe that policy issues should be taken into account in all of the Center’s activities whether in developing learning goals and activities for graduate students, conducting research on the use of curriculum materials, or organizing professional development experiences for teachers. This does not mean that policy considerations will be the primary focus of our work, but that we will be aware of the influence of policy on our work and the policy implications of what we do. We are particularly interested in policies that affect:

Research. The Center’s research agenda includes questions that explore the context in which policy decisions related to curriculum materials are made and carried out, including issues of leadership (e.g., power, influence, and who can effect change), systems organization (including management structures, funding resources, publishers), and obstacles to and support for implementation (e.g., values, beliefs, and attitudes of participants and how policy decisions are received). Among the policy contexts considered for study are the publishing industry, funding agencies, adoption committees, school administrators, teachers in classrooms, as well as parents and families and other community members.

Leadership development. Attracting scholars to CCMS and preparing them for leadership roles in the science education community requires that the Center be aware of policies regarding teacher certification, trends in graduate education, content standards and assessment practices, and the real world settings in which curricular decisions are made. Through coursework, practica, research apprenticeships, and independent studies, CCMS graduate students and postdoctoral fellows explore important aspects of education policy and their implications for the design, selection, and use of science curriculum materials.

Teacher development. CCMS offers pre-service courses and in-service professional development programs designed to introduce teachers to the policy issues that affect their adoption and enactment of curriculum materials. Teachers are also prepared to use analytical tools for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of materials, particularly when used in the context of policies that support science literacy for all students.

[Core Principles References]

Text: AAAS Project 2061, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, University of Michigan
Text: Center for Curriculum Materials in Science