Professional Development Database

Database Login

About the LASER Project

The Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) initiative, launched by the National Science Resources Center in 1998, has the overarching goal of promoting a sustainable, inquiry-based model for kindergarten through Grade 8 science education reform. The use of hands-on science modules (kits) and inquiry-based pedagogy are hallmarks of the LASER approach. Other key elements of the LASER approach are ongoing professional development, effective program and student assessment, curriculum materials supplied to teachers in ready-to-use condition, and the development of strong administrative and community support.

In 1999, a partnership between Battelle/Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) and Pacific Science Center launched a statewide LASER initiative modeled after the national LASER initiative. Support from the Washington State Legislature started in 2001. Washington State LASER supports annual strategic planning institutes, curriculum showcases, and a statewide network of Regional Alliances that provide the ongoing professional development, materials support, and technical assistance needed to implement inquiry-based science instruction in the participating schools. Today, a combination of state, school district, and private sources. Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), Battelle (the world's largest nonprofit research and development organization), and the Pacific Science Center (a science education center for children located in Seattle) provide the leadership for Washington State LASER.

Each Regional Alliance is a coalition of school districts, educational service districts (ESDs), universities, and/or businesses. At the time of this report 10 Regional Alliances served the different regions of Washington State:

  • Mountain to Harbor Alliance, coordinated by ESD 113 in Olympia.
  • North Central Alliance, coordinated by North Central ESD in Wenatchee.
  • North Sound Alliance, coordinated through Institute for Systems Biology.
  • Northeast Alliance, coordinated by ESD 101 in Spokane.
  • Northwest Alliance, coordinated by Northwest ESD 189 in Anacortes.
  • Olympic Peninsula Alliance, coordinated by Olympic ESD in Bremerton.
  • South Central Alliance, coordinated through ESD 105 in Yakima.
  • South Sound Alliance, coordinated through Puyallup School District.
  • Southeast Alliance, coordinated through Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Kennewick School District, and ESD 123 in the Tri Cities.
  • Southwest Washington Alliance, coordinated by the ESD 112 in Vancouver.

Public Documents

Project Information

LASER Professional Development Training Presentation
This Microsoft PowerPoint presentation was used to train LASER grantees on the use of the LASER Professional Development Database.

2008-2009 Regional Science Leadership Calendar
A draft calendar that includes dates and locations for science activities and events.

Evaluation Reports & Highlights

Washington State LASER: 2009–2010 Evaluation Report
This report summarizes the research and evaluation findings for the period from July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010.

Lessons Learned from Evaluating Science Education Projects
Presentation given by Dave Weaver at the LASER Strategic Planning Refresher hosted by the Southwest Regional Alliance on April 27, 2010.

Washington State LASER 2008-2009 Evaluation Report
This document contains the final evaluation report for 2008-2009.

Highlights from Recent Evaluation Studies
This Microsoft PowerPoint presentation highlights the findings from evaluation activities carried out in 2007 and significant evaluation findings from previous studies. The presentation was given by Dennis Schatz at the December 7, 2007 WERA conference.

Washington State LASER: What we know about its impact on students
This Microsoft PowerPoint presentation summarized 3 years of research on the impact of LASER on student achievement in science.

2006 LASER Implementation Study Results
This document gives the preliminary finding from the research conducted by RMC Research in 2006 that examined the impacts of LASER on student achievement in Grade 5 at the student and class level.

2009-2010 Evaluation Highlights
This 2-page document summarizes the highlights from the 2009-2010 LASER Evaluation Report.

Evaluation Instruments

Sentinel Site Visit Instructions
This document contains the instructions for conducting LASER Sentinel Site Visits including how to use all of the data collection instruments and submitting results online.

Sentinel Site Visit Scoring Rubric
This rebric is used by the sentinel site visitors to summarize the overall results of their sentinel site visit.

LASER Workshop Evaluation Form
This workshop evaluation is designed to be used in conjunction with existing workshop evaluation forms to collect feedback from participants about the degree to which the workshop prepared them to implement effective learning experineces for students.

LASER Science Classroom Observation Protocol
This classroom observations protocol is designed to collect information about the degree to which the elements of an effective science learning experience for students is evident in classroom practice.

Science Classroom Observation Protocol Webinar 11/10/2010
This document contains the instructions for joining the November 10, 2010 webinar from 11:00 to Noon Pacific time on the use of the Science Classroom Observation Protocol.

Science Classroom Observation Protocol Webinar 11/22/2010
This document contains the instructions for joining the November 22, 2010 webinar from 2:00 to 3:00 Pacific time on the use of the Science Classroom Observation Protocol.

Science Education Resources

Effective Science Instruction Presentation NEW VERSION
This Microsoft PowerPoint presentations summarized the findings addressed in the above report. This version is an update to an earlier version origionally posted in fall 2008.

Effective science instruction: What does research tell us? Second Edition
Banilower, E., Cohen, K., Pasley, J., & Weiss, I. (2008). Effective science instruction: What does research tell us? Second Edition. Portsmouth, NH: RMC Research Corporation, Center on Instruction.

Meeting Materials

What Are We Doing Here Anyway? Vision for our Work: Effective Science Learning Experiences
This presentation was given by Dave Weaver at the beginning of the Science Partnership Academy in SeaTac, Washington in October 2010.

Public Reports

School Districts Using Materials
This report shows which materials are used in which grades within a selected school district.

Materials Used in School Districts
This report shows which school districts and grades are using selected materials.


Panel Discussion with Sentinel Site Visitors
This file provides the audio from the October 29, 2009 panel discussion with the 5 consultants who conducted the majority of the sentinel site visits during the 2007—2009 LASER project biennium. During this 2 year period consultants and members of the RMC Research staff visited 64 schools in Washington State to conduct interviews with the principal and teachers, administer surveys, and to observe classes over a day and a half visit to each school. This panel discussion was an opportunity for LASER leadership, alliance staff, and steering committee members to hear what the site visitors learned from the process and to ask questions of the site visitors.

PowerPoint Slides for Panel Discussion with Sentinel Site Visitors
This is the PowerPoint presentation for the above meeting.