Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The state of science educational standards in the US

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Summary: not very good.

TYD sent a link to this article by Anna Kuchment in Scientific American. And why are so many Americans opposed to the practice and findings of science? The article begins:

new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute paints a grim picture of state science standards across the United States. But it also reveals some intriguing details about exactly what’s going wrong with the way many American students are learning science.

Standards are the foundation upon which educators build curricula, write textbooks and train teachers– they often take the form of a list of facts and skills that students must master at each grade level. Each state is free to formulate its own standards, and numerous studies have found that high standards are a first step on the road to high student achievement. “A majority of the states’ standards remain mediocre to awful,” write the authors of the report. Only one state, California, plus the District of Columbia, earned straight A’s. Indiana, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Virginia each scored an A-, and a band of states in and around the northwest, including Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Nebraska, scored F’s. (For any New Yorkers reading this, our standards earned a respectable B+, plus the honor of having “some of the most elegant writing of any science standards document”).

What exactly is going wrong? The study’s lead authors identified four main factors: an undermining of evolution, vague goals, not enough guidance for teachers on how to integrate the history of science and the concept of scientific inquiry into their lessons, and not enough math instruction.

Let’s take these one by one. . .

Continue reading. Read the article and/or the original report. My own feeling is that it is a desperate attempt to deny reality because the modern world is scary, moves fast, and frightens the ignorant. The inclination of some is to try to ignore everything they don’t understand, and of course for the ignorant that’s a vast territory. But they’re working on it, trying to shut things down so they don’t have to think about it.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 February 2012 at 3:04 pm

Posted in Education, Science

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