refining the knowledge base on instructional programs to better distinguish the programs and their outcomes from each other and to identify the conditions and the contexts that typically accompany success;
research on the requirements to take promising physics curricula to scale in different school contexts, with companion efforts to develop supports for independent use of a curriculum;
research on teacher knowledge requirements for effective use of a curriculum and how that knowledge builds with teacher learning opportunities and experience.
International and national test scores highlight the weakness of K-12 science education in the United States. There are some indications that the absence of an agreed-on content for K-12 science instruction and the broad coverage of topics typical in science textbooks have led to weak development of scientific concepts over the school years. Improvement will require that choices be made that narrow the set of topics to be covered, and that instructional approaches to developing a deeper understanding of scientific concepts be identified or developed and evaluated for their outcomes. We propose three initiatives toward that end:
development and evaluation of integrated learning-instruction models aimed at identifying a productive organizing core for school science across the grades, with component curriculum and assessment research and development that extends existing promising efforts;
research and development on teacher knowledge requirements to effectively work with the curriculum under study; and
an ongoing effort to identify the feasibility and required commitments to achieve standards for science achievement.