A partnership of 50 teachers from 22 schools from the districts of Bayonne, Hoboken, Jersey City, Newark, Piscataway, Weehawken, and four non-public schools, together with Stevens Institute of Technology, Montclair State University, and Liberty Science Center, are providing teachers with deeper science content knowledge, research-based professional development, and experience with innovative science and engineering curricula and materials for Grades 3-5.  Teachers participate in a dynamic and supportive learning community designed to address topics in key content areas in Grades 3-5 science, engineering, and technology education. Now in its 3rd year, activities will focus on New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards 5.7 (physical science) and 8.2 (technology education). 

An intensive, two-week summer institute involves teachers in collaborative learning through engagement in problem based learning (PBL), science inquiry, engineering design, foundational learning in core science topics, and the development of a teacher portfolio that uses the PBL framework.

Three professional development days during the school year and monthly classroom visits support teachers as they implement content and materials during the school year.

Assessment of student and teacher learning take place, within participating classrooms and in comparison classrooms.

For more information, please contact Beth McGrath, PISA Principal Investigator


Achievements of the PISA program

  • In year 1, participating teachers showed science and engineering gains almost 3 times greater than teachers in the comparison group.

  • Students of teachers in the treatment group had gains in science and engineering more than 2.5 times greater than students in the comparison group.

  • Students of teachers in the treatment group had achievement gains in science almost 2 times greater than those in the comparison group.

  • In year 2, teachers improved their notions of scientific inquiry after 2 weeks of intensive summer professional development.

Macalalag. Jr, A., Brockway, D., McKay, M., McGrath, E. (2008) Partnership to Improve Student Achievement in Engineering and Science Education: Lessons Learned in Year One. American Society for Engineering Education Mid-Atlantic, Hoboken, NJ, October 2008.

Macalalag, A., Lowes, S., Guo, K., McKay, M., McGrath, E. (2009) Promoting Scientific Inquiry Through Innovative Science And Engineering Curricula In Grades 3-5. American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Austin, TX, June 2009.