Advancing Teachers of Middle School Science (ATOMS2XP): Connecting Science Teachers through a Statewide Professional Learning Community

By Elizabeth Latimer, Mandi Anderson and Mari Kemis.

Published by The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 21, 2014 $US5.00

Studies have shown that when teachers are given the time and tools to collaborate, they become life-long learners, their instructional practices improve, and they are ultimately able to increase student achievement far beyond what any of them could accomplish alone. Over 200 Mississippi middle school science teachers participated in a successful professional learning community that blends face-to-face instruction and online collaboration for continued support and growth. Advancing Teachers of Middle School Science (ATOMS2xp) is a research-based program that provides in-depth content knowledge, inquiry-based instructional strategies, curriculum and teaching resources, as well as opportunities for teachers to incorporate their learning into practice. Based at Mississippi State University’s Center for Educational and Training Technology (CETT), a key component of ATOMS2xp is the ongoing collaboration among the university staff, scientific and community partners, and teacher participants through the many instructional activities of the professional learning community. Evidence of the success of this model is provided through a systematic multiple-methods evaluation design using both qualitative and quantitative methods of assessment. This paper describes the theoretical bases for the program, key components of the program, and results of the evaluation that indicate its success and impact on teacher participants and their students.

Keywords: Teacher Development, Professional Learning Community, STEM Education

The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning, Volume 20, Issue 2, May 2014, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 21, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 697.321KB)).

Dr. Elizabeth Latimer

Director, Center for Educational Training and Technology, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi, USA

Dr. Mandi Anderson

Research and Evaluation Scientist, Research Institute for Studies in Education, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA

Mari Kemis

Assistant Director, Research Institute for Studies in Education (RISE), NSF Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA

Mari Kemis is the Assistant Director of the Research Institute for Studies in Education (RISE) at Iowa State University. She received a master's degree in consumer economics from Iowa State University. Mari has worked as a program evaluator since 1991, with a specialty in survey research. Her research interests are innovative use of evaluation methodologies in teacher education, professional development of K-12 teachers in STEM content areas, and evaluation of community college programs.