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PRISM II Profile

Partnership for Reform in Science and Mathematics (PRISM)


PRISM Phase II is conducting research on strategies that lead to changes in the culture of science and mathematics education where dimensions of culture include policies, practices, partnerships, and resources. Research studies in PRISM Phase II are producing further evidence of how and to what extent distinctive PRISM Phase I strategies - K-16 Professional Learning Communities, Culture of Higher Education and a Public Awareness Campaign - give rise to these four key elements of holistic cultural change.

The Phase II PRISM partnership is producing these outcomes through an integrated set of research studies focused on the following questions:
1) In what ways and to what extent do K-16 professional learning communities lead to partnerships which change professional practice of K-16 educators and improve student learning in K-16 science and mathematics?
2) To what extent do policy change and incentive structures that reward higher education faculty to collaborate with K-12 schools and to strengthen their own teaching result in sustainable changes in departmental and institutional culture, including changed policies, changed practices, new partnerships and dedicated resources, in higher education?
3) To what extent do schools that participate in the Public Awareness Campaign have greater student motivation, greater parental involvement and higher student achievement in science and mathematics than non-participating schools? PRISM Phase II expects to culminate in replicable models for implementing the three strategies in ways which elicit changes in culture and ultimately strengthen K-16 science and mathematics education. Based upon the successes of PRISM Phase I, the University System of Georgia (USG) has launched a STEM Initiative, in FY 2009, designed to replicate the successes of PRISM throughout all 35 USG institutions. Through STEM Initiative funding, 12 institutions will implement K-16 professional learning communities and faculty incentive programs for participation in the scholarship of teaching and learning with faculty from all USG institutions invited to participate in STEM-focused Faculty Institutes on the Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics. The implementation of STEM Initiative-supported learning communities provide a broad base of activity to support experimental studies, as well as avenues by which the results of the Phase II work also immediately inform the work of the STEM Initiative team. This provides a direct avenue of dissemination of Phase II results to all public institutions of higher education in Georgia. Phase II research findings are also being disseminated through presentations at national and regional conferences and through scholarly journals and proceedings.