• (e.g., in public policy and law) or as voters and consumers.

"Not long ago, a college chemistry professor grew angry with the way her daughter's high school chemistry class was being taught. She made an appointment to meet with the teacher and marched with righteous indignation into the classroom-only to discover that the teacher was one of her own former students."

Yates, 1995, pg. 8B

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    Because of existing and new requirements for teacher certification in many states, lower-division undergraduate science and mathematics education will need to prepare the next generation of teachers more rigorously. The same faculty who teach these courses for pre-service students also will need to become more engaged with professional development for many practicing teachers. If current projections hold, up to two million college graduates will be needed in the next decade to serve as grade K-12 teachers (Darling-Hammond, 1997). The quality of science and mathematics education that these graduates received as undergraduates could have a direct impact on the amount of mathematics or science their K-12 students study and may contribute to the level of student achievement in these subjects (e.g., mathematics: Hawkins et al., 1998; science: O'Sullivan et al., 1998; see also Education Trust, 1998). Many of these students will eventually enroll in the nation's colleges and universities. As called for in National Research Council and other reports, if inquiry-based and standards-based teaching and learning are increasingly accepted as the prevailing educational paradigms for K-12 education, postsecondary institutions will need to respond, especially by including these techniques in the preparation of prospective teachers and the continuing education of current teachers.

    The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (1989, 1991), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1993), and the National Research Council (1996b) all have contributed to high-quality national standards in K-12 science and mathematics. The International Technology Education Association has developed Standards for Technology Education (the publication of which is expected in early spring of 1999) in a complementary style to the previous standards efforts. To date, statewide curriculum frameworks have been enacted by more than 25 states (Council of Chief State School Officers, 1997). Like the national efforts, these state frameworks also define what students should know and be able to do in science, mathematics, and technology throughout the K-12 years.4 These K-12 standards can assist undergraduate institutions in defining minimum entrance requirements in SME&T. These standards also could be used to restructure current standardized testing programs in mathematics and to construct standardized tests in science and technology that could be administered to all students who seek to pursue higher education. Thus, agencies such as the Educational Testing Service and the American College Testing Program could be important partners in and contributors to the improvement of undergraduate SME&T education.

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    Lower-division undergraduate science and mathematics education sets the stage for career scientists, mathematicians, and

4  

Although no similar standards are being proposed for undergraduate education on a national scale, in the fall of 1997, the Education Trust in Washington, DC initiated a two-year project with public universities and community colleges from seven states to explore the possibility of establishing curricular standards in history and one of the natural sciences on each campus. The results of that initiative were not available at the time of publication of this report.



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