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Scientists and public school teachers team up to transform science education
Date:3/26/2013

BOSTON (March 26, 2013) A research paper published online this month in Academic Medicine highlights the successful development, implementation, and effects of an infectious disease curriculum that has now been piloted in five Boston Public Schools. Student engagement and interest in the infectious disease material increased after the curriculum was implemented. Based on pre-and post-tests, student understanding of the course content more than doubled regardless of gender or ethnicity, also attitudes and self-efficacy toward the material improved compared to other students.

The curriculum is part of the Great Diseases Project, a collaboration between researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine and teachers at Boston Public Schools, designed to teach teenagers about real scientific methods and health-related concepts, with the goal of increasing scientific and health literacy.

The study reports that the infectious disease curriculum increased student engagement, science literacy, and critical thinking in the 11th and 12th grade students who participated in the pilot program in Boston schools. Importantly, it also developed the teachers' knowledge and self-confidence with the new course material and strengthened the researchers' science communication skills. By the end of the 2013 academic year, the Great Disease modules will have enrolled close to 850 students from schools in Massachusetts, Virginia, and Ohio.

In its 2011 framework for science education, the National Academy of Sciences reported that science education standards must change so that students are exposed to authentic scientific ideas and practices. While the national effort to refine standards is ongoing, the success of the Great Diseases Project contributes to models for development and implementation of science classes to meet the improved standards.

"How science is taught in high school differs greatly from how it is carried out in a real-life l
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Contact: Siobhan E. Gallagher
siobhan.gallagher@tufts.edu
617-636-6586
Tufts University, Health Sciences Campus
Source:Eurekalert

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