Realizing the Democratic Ideal:
Teacher Education at Illinois State University



Autumn Semester 2014

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(Last updated 9/08/2014, cjw)

Catalog Description:
413   TEACHING HIGH SCHOOL PHYSICS II   3 sem. hrs. Spring
Employs goal setting, self-assessment, and instructional design as a way of improving the physics teachers' inquiry practice.

Prerequisite: Open only to certificated, in-service high school teachers of physics and physical science with a minimum of two years of teaching experience. Approval of course instructor also required.


Class Meetings:
This course will be taught on an independent basis with meetings as necessary.

Course Overview: The aim of this course is to provide in-service teachers of physics and/or physical science with a mechanism for improving their professional practice. The end in view is to help participating teachers move toward National Board Certification by working with the Board's Architecture of Accomplished Teaching, including the Five Core Propositions. The immediate goal is for teachers to: (1) know their students and their students' needs, (2) set high and worthwhile goals that satisfy the students' needs, (3) implement instruction to attain these goals, (4) evaluate student learning in light of these goals, (5) reflect on student learning and the effectiveness of instructional design, and (6) set higher goals that are appropriate to students at this time.

Policies: In this course emphasis will be placed on a Assessment-for-Learning policy. That is, assessments of student performance will be used not only to generate scores and assign a course grade, but also to improve student performance. Unsatisfactory written work will be returned to the student for improvement, but only if submitted by the deadline. A student's score can be improved by appropriate revision and resubmission of unsatisfactory course projects, so long as all deadlines are met. Each class will consist of discussions of assigned readings, modeling and practicing of secondary-level inquiry lessons that demonstrate appropriate infusion of instructional technology, teacher presentations, and activities related to increasing the understanding the nature of scientific inquiry.

Required In-Service Teacher Tasks:

Self-Assessment of Current Teaching Practice (20% of course grade)
Each in-service teacher will perform an evidence-based self-assessment of personal teaching practice in relation to a specific set of inquiry practice indicators. The purpose of this task is to allow in-service teachers to reflect on their own teaching practice, to identify problems associated with that teaching practice that originate from within the teacher and from within the institutional setting, and as a means of examining significant performance problems associated with the instruction (classroom, school, district, state). This self-assessment must be completed an RTOP-based self assessment. See the instructor for a copy of this instrument.

Draft NBPTS-based Professional Teaching Portfolio (80% of course grade) Each in-service teacher will create a draft NBPTS-based professional teaching portfolio addressing four areas of the Science/Adolescence and Young Adulthood Standards and include additional sections as indicated below.

Entry 0: Overview

Provide an overview in which you describe the following:

  • Your Students - Who are they? Where are they now? What do they need and in what order do they need it? Where should I begin?
  • High, worthwhile goals appropriate for these students, at this time, in this setting.

Entry 1: Teaching a Major Idea over Time See AYA/Science Portfolio Instructions

Entry 2: Active Scientific Inquiry

See AYA/Science Portfolio Instructions
Entry 3: Whole-Class Discussions about Science See AYA/Science Portfolio Instructions
Entry 4: Documented Accomplishments: Contributions to Student Learning See AYA/Science Portfolio Instructions

General portolio instructions contains information about the following topics:

Download General Portfolio Instructions as well as the specific AYA/Science Portfolio Instructions to learn more about the requirements for preparing, developing, and submitting the portfolio component of your assessment. When preparing your portfolio, be certain to adhere to the page limits specified.

Course Grade: The course grade for each student will be based upon the percentage of total points generated on the student performance assessments, and will be assigned according to the following system.

A > 94%            83% < B < 94%             72% < C < 83%             67% < D < 72%             F < 67%

The above grading scale might seem a bit high to the
in-service teacher but it assumes that students will take advantage of the instructor's Assessment- for -Learning policy.


Aarons, A. B. (1997). Teaching Introductory Physics, New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc

American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1993). Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy, F. James Rutherford (ed.). Washington: Oxford University Press.

Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education (2000). Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology: New Practices for the New Millennium. Available:

Hatton, J. & Plouffe, P. B. (1997). Science and Its Ways of Knowing. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Kober, N. (1993). EdTalk: What We Know About Science Teaching and Learning. Washington: Council for Educational Development and Research.

Lawson, A. E. (1995). Science Teaching and the Development of Thinking. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

National Science Teachers Association (1994). Scope, Sequence, and Coordination. Washington: Author

National Research Council (1996). National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: Author.

National Research Council (2000). Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: Author

National Research Council (2000). How People Learn. Washington, DC: Author. National Science Teachers Association. (1993). Handbook of Research on Science Teaching and Learning, Dorothy L. Gabel (ed.). New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute & National Science Foundation (197x). Conference on the Introductory Physics Course, Jack Wilson (ed.), New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Rutherford, F. J. (1990). Science for All Americans -- Project 2061, Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Swartz, C. E., & Miner, T. (1998). Teaching Introductory Physics: A Sourcebook. New York: Springer-Verlag.