aimed at parents and the general public that sets the stage for their involvement in standards-based education by familiarizing them with rationale for standards and introducing them to the NRC Standards.


Interpretation efforts focused on curriculum and instructional materials began early and are continuing into the implementation phase. A November 1995 conference, co-sponsored by the Center and the BSCS and funded by NSF, brought together curriculum developers, state and district science educators, and teacher educators and professional developers to study the NRC Standards and their implications for curriculum development. That conference resulted in a book, National Standards and the Science Curriculum: Challenges, Opportunities, and Recommendations (Bybee, 1996).

Understanding the role of assessment in standards-based education is an important interpretation issue as well. This was a focus of a conference, "Science Education Standards: The Assessment of Science Meets the Science of Assessment," sponsored by the NRC's Board on Testing and Assessment in February 1997.

In addition, the NRC has had a particular interest in teacher development. At the request of NSF, the NRC developed a letter report, Science Teacher Preparation in an Era of Standards-Based Reform (1997b), that provides a vision for teacher education and professional development. The role of scientists and engineers in standards-based reform also has been a focus of the NRC. The Resources for Involving Scientists in Education (RISE) Project is completing a Web site to inform scientists and engineers who are interested in contributing to standards-based reform. Information on the Web site will include examples of how scientists have worked in various projects with teachers, schools, and districts and descriptions of the various roles scientists and engineers can play-all in an effort to help them and those with whom they work understand better their potential contributions to standards-based reform. Exploring the roles of business and industry in standards-based reform was the focus of a December 1996 forum at the NAS, entitled "How Industry Can Use the Standards to Promote School Reform," that was hosted jointly by the NAS Academy Industry Program and the Center. Past meetings have included approximately 200 business leaders and have centered on involving business and industry in the reform of science education.

A publication nearing completion examines the critical issue of equity as presented in the NRC Standards. Aimed at parents and the general public, the tentatively titled Science for All Students will highlight various ways that the NRC Standards address equity and what an explicit emphasis on equity looks like in educational settings.

In 1996, the NRC launched a project to engage the informal education community including museums, botanical gardens, zoos, and science and technology centers-in support of standards-based education. The central goals for the project include (1) the enhancement of existing community resources found in science museums, botanical gardens, and in other youth-serving programs through study and dialogue about the NRC Standards; and (2) the development of local action plans that build cooperation among key community constituencies through use of the NRC Standards.

Borrowing a concept from the NCTM for supporting documents to accompany the Standards, the NRC is initiating a major effort to create a series of addenda that illuminate important standards, such as those addressing science as inquiry, science and technology, and the history and nature of science. These publications will provide teachers and professional developers with an understanding of the knowledge base in these areas, images of standards-based curriculum and instruction, and examples of educational resources that will help in implementing the NRC Standards.

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