The framework is designed to help realize a vision for education in the sciences and engineering in which students, over multiple years of school, actively engage in scientific and engineering practices and apply crosscutting concepts to deepen their understanding of the core ideas in these fields.
of the broad diversity of the American population—to follow these paths than is the case today.
The committee’s vision takes into account two major goals for K-12 science education: (1) educating all students in science and engineering and (2) providing the foundational knowledge for those who will become the scientists, engineers, technologists, and technicians of the future. The framework principally concerns itself with the first task—what all students should know in preparation for their individual lives and for their roles as citizens in this technology-rich and scientifically complex world. Course options, including Advanced Placement (AP) or honors courses, should be provided that allow for greater breadth or depth in the science topics that students pursue, not only in the usual disciplines taught as natural sciences in the K-12 context but also in allied subjects, such as psychology, computer science, and economics. It is the committee’s conviction that such an education, done well, will excite many more young people about science-related subjects and generate a desire to pursue science- or engineering-based careers.
Achieving the Vision
The framework is motivated in part by a growing national consensus around the need for greater coherence—that is, a sense of unity—in K-12 science education. Too often, standards are long lists of detailed and disconnected facts, reinforcing the criticism that science curricula in the United States tend to be “a mile wide and an inch deep” . Not only is such an approach alienating to young people, but it can also leave them with just fragments of knowledge and little sense of the creative achievements of science, its inherent logic and consistency, and its universality. Moreover, that approach neglects the need for students to develop an understanding of the practices of science and engineering, which is as important to understanding science as knowledge of its content.
The framework endeavors to move science education toward a more coherent vision in three ways. First, it is built on the notion of learning as a developmental