The impacts of teaching the crosscutting concepts in a proficiency-based system
Fitch, Christine DeLeo
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Education in the State of Vermont is evolving due to new legislation. By 2020, our students must graduate from a proficiency-based system. Vermont students must demonstrate proficiency in science in order to meet graduation requirements. Based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), students are considered proficient in science when they master the science and engineering practices (SEP), cross-cutting concepts (CCC), and disciplinary core ideas (DCI) which are outlined in the framework. The purpose of this research is to assess student proficiency in CCC in regard to the intervention of implementing CCC learning progressions. The treatment was applied in a ninth-grade earth science class over the course of a 6 week long unit. The sample size was approximately 52 students. The treatment included activities that articulated examples of CCC and a learning progression that aided in the delivery of CCC throughout the unit. The progression was used by the teacher to drive activities and score assessment, as well as, by the students as a path towards proficiency. DCI and SEP were taught concurrently with the CCC using current practices. The results indicate that there was no improvement over the treatment period in regards to students' ability to apply the CCC to the DCI. There was no distinction made between student scores on the pre-treatment unit assessment and the post treatment unit assessment. However, a small association was found between explicit teaching of the CCC and student understanding of the DCI.