Research-Based Communication to Policy as a Strategy for Science Education Improvement: The Case of the Strengthening Science Education in California Initiative’s High Hopes —— Few Opportunities

Publication: April 2012

Project: Bechtel Statewide – Strengthening Science Education in California Initiative (SSEC)

Authors: Laura Stokes and Michelle Phillips

Type: Report

Download Report (pdf, 37 pages)


The S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation funded the Strengthening Science Education in California Initiative (SSEC) for the purpose of generating research-based communication that could alert state policy makers to the conditions of K-12 science education in California and could motivate policy-centered efforts to strengthen science education. SSEC brought together policy think tank, research, and communications groups to work in partnership. Inverness Research (www.inverness-research.org), an education evaluation firm, was contracted to study and evaluate SSEC. The major focus and purpose of Inverness’s work was to document SSEC as a case of a distinctive approach to improving science education. This report is the product of that effort. Our intention as observers and evaluators is to make the SSEC approach, the work, and the assets that contributed to the work visible so that it can serve as a model for others with similar goals. We hope that both grant-makers and operating organizations can learn from and make use of the model, the particular strategies it entails, and the lessons learned.

Section I stands as a summary of SSEC. It explains its genesis and aim, defines the model and its core strategies, introduces the partners and their roles, and summarizes the results, impact, and lessons learned. Section I also offers our reflections on this project, which we see as an example of political rhetoric that recalls the Aristotelian tradition and stands in contrast to the noisy self-promotion of typical 21st century politics.

Section II delves into the tactics involved in making the model work-the phases of activity and the expertise and strategic thinking driving them. The purpose of this detailed section is to provide enough behind-the-scenes insight that others with similar goals might learn from and replicate this model in their own context.

Intended Audience

Science Educators, Teachers, School and District Administrators, Reform Leaders, and general public.


Any and all errors are claimed by the authors of this document, Inverness Research, Inc.

Distribution Policy

Inverness Research Inc. grants permission to print and distribute copies.