High-quality science education is essential for establishing a sound foundation of learning. Encouraging students’ natural curiosity to explore science phenomena supports learning that will transcend time and helps to address the critical need for a well-informed community. The DeKalb County School District’s Science Department encourages parents, guardians and caregivers to be active partners with their schools.
Schools are essential resources for science learning. The more actively engaged parents and other caregivers are in their children’s schooling, the more beneficial schools can be for building their child’s appreciation and knowledge of as well as confidence and skills in science … (Cotton and Wikelund 2001).
The DeKalb County School District is committed to deepening science learning for students. The District developed science instructional units to facilitate the instructional shifts in science teaching required by the Georgia Science Standards of Excellence. Science units now include the exploration of science phenomena, Science and Engineering Practices, Cross-Cutting Concepts, Disciplinary Core Ideas, utilization of the research-based 5E Instructional Model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend and Evaluate) and argument-driven inquiry through Claims, Evidence and Reasoning (CER).
Aligned physical and/or electronic science instructional resources are available for all schools and include Curriculum-At-A-Glance pacing summaries, Instructional Unit Plans, Pre-Post Assessments, and Weekly Pacing Guides.
Students are assessed in science in multiple ways. The purpose of each assessment is to inform instruction and prove student mastery. Throughout the year, students will have the opportunity to show evidence of their learning through formative and summative assessments. Science assessments include but are not limited to:
District unit pre-post assessments
Quarterly district-wide benchmark assessments
Georgia Department of Education End of Grade (EOG) assessments in Grade 5 and Grade 8
Georgia Department of Education End of Course (EOC) assessment in biology and physical science as designated by the State Board of Education.
The End-of-Course measures are administered at the completion of the course, regardless of the grade level. These measures serve as the final exam for the course and contribute 20% to the student’s final course grade.
If enrolled in science EOC course, these middle school students will not take the corresponding content area end-of-grade (EOG) measure.
Science students participate in several academic competitions throughout the school year. The primary competition is the DeKalb Regional Science and Engineering Fair. The science fair is held annually in the month of February. The students who excel in this competition then compete at the Georgia State Science and Engineering Fair. Through these competitions the students have the ability to earn scholarships as well as other prizes. The DeKalb Science and Engineering Fair website provides additional information about the DeKalb Regional Science and Engineering Fair. Students also have an opportunity to participate in the First Lego League Robotics, Science Olympiad, Future City, and Governor’s Honors competitions.