Project: Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), National Academy for Curriculum Leadership (NACL), National Science Foundation (NSF)

Authors: Mark St. John, Judy Hirabayashi, Jenifer V. Helms, Pam Tambe

Type: Brief and Executive Summary

Publication: June 2006

The BSCS National Academy for Curriculum Leadership: Contributions and Lessons Learned

Brief (pdf, 16 pages)

Executive Summary (pdf, 3 pages)


In 1996, the National Science Foundation (NSF) solicited proposals for the first Implementation and Dissemination Centers to facilitate the dissemination and implementation of curriculum materials developed with Foundation funding.

BSCS, with its long history of curriculum and professional development in secondary science, seemed a natural agent for facilitating the dissemination and implementation of high-quality instructional materials in science. Believing that secondary science was in particular need of support and improvement, BSCS wrote and received a grant in 2000; between 2001 and 2005, BSCS supported district teams seeking to improve their secondary science programs through a three-year program known as the National Academy for Curriculum Leadership (NACL).

By the end of the 2004-05 school year, the BSCS Professional Development Center completed work with 12 teams from 10 districts to improve the districts’ secondary science programs.

Our full report on the program (available from BSCS) examines the approach of the BSCS NACL to improving secondary science education, and illuminates some of the lessons learned from their work with districts across the nation. The Executive Summary and Evaluation Brief summarize the contributions of BSCS to NACL teams, the contributions of the NACL to school and district capacity for improvement of secondary science, and the teams’ overall assessments of the BSCS NACL’s contributions. The Brief and Executive Summary also include broader lessons learned about the BSCS approach to secondary science program improvement:

The success of the NACL teams:

  • Lessons learned about factors that shape the effectiveness of NACL teams;
  • Lessons learned about using curriculum as a leading edge for change;
  • Lessons learned about improving high school science education.

Intended Audience

Science Educators, Science Curriculum Supervisors/Leaders, School and District Administrators, Teachers, Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) Education Leaders, Funders, and general public.


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

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