approaches, and assessments. In addition, investments in the development of the associated curricula and curriculum support materials and technologies, professional development programs, and assessments must be ongoing, first to provide initial versions and then to improve them based on research results.

In each section below, we describe these broad issues for R&D. Finally, recognizing the importance of equity and diversity, we have woven questions related to these issues throughout both major sections of the chapter.


In the following subsections, we lay out a plan for programs of research to examine key elements of science learning and teaching that should serve to influence the future development of science education standards and implementation of the framework. To do so, we draw heavily from the prior National Research Council (NRC) report Learning and Instruction: A SERP Research Agenda, which described a framework for research and development on learning and instruction in the areas of mathematics, literacy, and science [1].

The research plan we develop here is centrally concerned with issues of teacher practice and curricular resources. The reason is that any set of standards is about expectations for students’ knowledge and proficiency, which are necessarily mediated by (1) the knowledge, wisdom, and practices of teachers; (2) the tools provided to assist them in accomplishing their work; and (3) the contexts that support the intellectual efforts of both teachers and students.

Core Questions Behind an R&D Agenda on Learning and Teaching

The Learning and Instruction report laid out a set of core questions that focus on the normal course of development and learning, as well as on diagnosing and responding to students’ problems in mastering new concepts and acquiring new knowledge and practices [1]. These questions, which provide a schema for examining teaching and learning, highlight the aspects of teachers’ knowledge that must be supported through preservice experience and professional development. They are as follows:

1. What are the typical preconceptions that students hold about the practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas at the outset?

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement