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Contact: Matthew Osborn
(510) 642-7262

For immediate release, January 11, 2021

Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) has been designated by the United States Department of Education's Expert Panel on Mathematics and Science Education a "Promising" program.

  The United States Department of Education has designated Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) as a Promising science program. This prestigious designation came after an exhaustive review of 27 science programs. The Expert Panel on Mathematics and Science Education recommended two programs be designated as exemplary and seven as promising.

The Expert Panel was convened to identify and designate excellent science programs so that teachers, schools, and districts nationwide can make better-informed decisions in their ongoing efforts to improve the quality of student learning. The review of science programs is part of a larger process initiated by the Educational Research, Development, Dissemination and Improvement Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-227, which includes Title IX). This law directed the Assistant Secretary of Educational Research and Improvement to establish "panels of appropriate qualified experts and practitioners" to evaluate educational programs and recommend to the Secretary those programs that should be designated as promising or exemplary.

For the review of science programs, almost 100 teachers and other researchers were selected from a nationwide pool of science educators and trained as field reviewers. Each program submitted to the panel was evaluated for its quality, its usefulness to others, and its educational significance-based on the materials submitted. Programs that received high ratings from this procedure were then reviewed by evaluation experts, who assessed the educational effectiveness studies that had been submitted by programs. The full Expert Panel then reviewed all the programs along with the ratings and comments of the review teams, to determine which programs to recommend to the Secretary of Education as exemplary or promising.

The Panel's evaluation noted that the GEMS educational approach is "appropriate, engaging, and motivating . . . " and that it "promotes multiple and effective approaches to learning by suggesting many and varied ways to achieve understanding." In assessing the educational significance of the GEMS program, the review states, "The program demonstrates the belief that science is for all students and displays a strong commitment to equity and diversity." They also noted that GEMS can be used as a strong support for schools looking to meet new local, state, and national standards. "Reviewers found the program's learning goals to be clearly based on national science education standards, yet flexible enough for states and local districts to design their own curricula." In its summary the panel said GEMS had demonstrated educational effectiveness. "Overall, reviewers reported that GEMS shows quantitative evidence of student gains in the understanding of science. A number of evaluations with statistically significant results provided strong supportive evidence of the effectiveness of specific units or groups of units." The complete transcript of the Panel's evaluation can be found at:

GEMS publishes over 60 supplementary science and mathematics units for preschool through 8th grade. GEMS activities engage students in direct experience and experimentation to introduce essential, standards-based principles and concepts. GEMS units offer effective, practical, economical, and schedule-friendly ways to provide high-quality science and math learning to all students. Since classroom testing began in 1984, it is estimated over 600,000 teachers and more than 10 million students have experienced GEMS activities. GEMS has won a number of awards including, most recently, the 2000 Excellence in Integrated Mathematics & Science Award from the School Science & Mathematics Association.

GEMS is a program of the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) at the University of California at Berkeley. One of the largest science and mathematics curriculum development centers in the United States, LHS is internationally recognized as a leader in developing innovative, research-based teaching methods.

More information on the GEMS program can be found at:
http://www.lhsgems.org The complete list of exemplary and promising science programs can be found at:

For more information please contact:
Matthew Osborn, (510) 642-7262, email:
GEMS is a program of the Lawrence Hall of Science, the public science education center at the University of California at Berkeley.

Lawrence Hall of Science    © 2003 UC Regents. All rights reserved.    Contact GEMS    Updated June 20, 2020