Plenary Speaker Profile (2005)
Iris Weiss
Horizon Research, Chapel Hill, NC
Looking Inside the Classroom: Results of a National Observation Study of Mathematics and Science Teaching

Iris Weiss will share the results of an observation study involving a representative sample of 364 mathematics and science classes throughout the United States. The study found that the important distinction was not traditional versus reform instruction. Rather, key factors that distinguish lessons judged to be high in quality from those judged to be low in quality are their ability to: engage students with the mathematics/science content; create an environment conducive to learning, one that is simultaneously respectful and rigorous; ensure that all students have access to the lesson; and help students make sense of the mathematics/science content.

Iris R. Weiss is President of Horizon Research, Inc., a small contract research firm in Chapel Hill, NC specializing in science and mathematics education research and evaluation. She has had extensive experience in evaluation, survey design and analysis, and science education policy research. Dr. Weiss received a Bachelor's Degree in biology from Cornell University, a Master's Degree in science education from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before establishing Horizon Research, Inc. in 1987, Dr. Weiss was Senior Educational Research Scientist at the Research Triangle Institute (RTI).

Dr. Weiss participated in the evaluation of NSF's model middle school teacher preparation and Triad programs, served on the assessment working group for the National Standards of Science Education, and chaired the Committee on Understanding the Influence of National Standards for the National Research Council. She has been involved in the development of self-study tools for the Urban Systemic Initiatives and the evaluation of Statewide Systemic Initiatives in Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Delaware, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico. Recent projects include a national survey of mathematics and science teachers; an observation study of a nationally-representative sample of mathematics and science teachers; and the development of an on-line database of reviews of materials for the professional development of mathematics and science teachers. She is currently directing a "knowledge management and dissemination" project for NSF's Math Science Partnership Program.