The i3 LASER Program is a five-year research study to assess the impact of the Leadership Assistance in Systemic Science Education Reform (LASER) Model on student achievement in science among 75,000 urban and rural students in grades 1 – 8 in North Carolina, Houston (Texas) and northern New Mexico. The U.S. Department of Education awarded an Investing in Innovation (i3) research grant to the Smithsonian Institute’s National Science Resources Center (NSRC) to coordinate the program nationally. The SMT Center is the North Carolina regional partner supporting the project. By the conclusion of the study, over 1,000 teachers and 25,000 students will be impacted in North Carolina.

Major components of i3 LASER include (1) a research-based curriculum; (2) materials support for accompanying science kits; (3) differentiated teacher professional development for effective learning and teaching of the curriculum; (4) strategic planning and leadership development and (5) ongoing community collaboration with business, government leaders and parent organizations. Forty-six schools in seven school districts in North Carolina are involved in the study. The schools were randomly selected to participate in either Phase One (initial treatment) or Phase Two (delayed treatment). Phase One schools will receive three inquiry-based Science and Technology Concepts (STC®) science units along with over 90 hours of professional development supporting the effective instruction of the kit. Phase Two schools will receive a Science and Technology Concepts (STC®) science unit with the accompanying professional development.

The i3 LASER Program will run from October 2010 – October 2015.