National Academies Press: OpenBook

National Science Education Standards (1996)

Chapter: Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4962.
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National Science Education Standards

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, DC

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4962.
×

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by the Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. Harold Liebowitz are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

The study was supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and a National Academy of Sciences president’s discretionary fund provided by the Volvo North American Corporation, The Ettinger Foundation, Inc., and the Eugene McDermott Foundation.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

National Science Education Standards.

p. cm.

“National Research Council.”

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-309-05326-9

1. Science—Study and Teaching—Standards—United States.

I. National Research Council (U.S.).

Q183.3.A1N364 1996

507.1’0973—dc20 95-45778

CIP

First Printing, December 1995

Second Printing, March 1996

Third Printing, July 1996

Fourth Printing, October 1996

Fifth Printing, February 1998

National Science Education Standards is available for sale from the
National Academy Press,
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Box 285, Washington, DC 20055. Call 800-624-6242 or 202-334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area). It is also available via internet at http://www:nas.edu.

Copyright 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Cover by Grafik, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4962.
×

Acknowledgments

The National Science Education Standards are the product of the efforts of many individuals and groups. We want to acknowledge

The National Committee on Science Education Standards and Assessment

The Chair's Advisory Committee

The Executive Editorial Committee

The Content Working Group

The Teaching Working Group

The Assessment Working Group

The Focus Groups

The National Review Groups

The many individuals who have served as consultants to the project

All who have diligently reviewed the drafts

The National Science Education Standards Development Team

   Angelo Collins, Director

   Rodger Bybee, Chair, Content Working Group

   Karen Worth, Chair, Teaching Working Group

   Audrey Champagne, Chair, Assessment Working Group

   Harold Pratt, Senior Program Officer

The National Research Council Staff

   Donna M. Gerardi, Special Assistant for New Initiatives

   Patrice Legro, Senior Program Office

   Lee R. Paulson, Managing Editor

   Douglas K. Sprunger, Senior Project Assistant

   Suzanne White, Senior Project Assistant

   Tina M. Winters, Editorial Assistant

See Appendix for members of the above groups.

Major funding for this project was provided by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and a National Academy of Sciences president's discretionary fund provided by the Volvo North American Corporation, The Ettinger Foundation, Inc., and the Eugene McDermott Foundation.

National Science Education Standards is available for sale from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Box 285, Washington, DC 20055. Call 800-624-6242 or 202-334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area). It is also available via internet at http://www:nas.edu.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4962.
×
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4962.
×
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4962.
×

5

 

Assessment in Science Education

 

75

   

The Standards

 

78

   

Standard A

 

78

   

Standard B

 

79

   

Standard C

 

83

   

Standard D

 

85

   

Standard E

 

86

   

Assessments Conducted by Classroom Teachers

 

87

   

Improving Classroom Practice

 

87

   

Planning Curricula

 

87

   

Development Self-directed Learners

 

88

   

Reporting Student Progress

 

88

   

Researching Teaching Practices

 

89

   

Assessments Conducted at the District, State, and National Levels

 

89

   

Data Analysis

 

90

   

Teacher Involvement

 

90

   

Sample Size

 

90

   

Representative Sample

 

90

   

Sample Assessments of Student Science Achievement

 

91

   

Assessing Understanding of the Natural World

 

91

   

Assessing the Ability to Inquire

 

98

   

Changing Emphases for Assessment

 

100

   

References for Further Reading

 

101

6

 

Science Content Standards

 

103

   

Rationale

 

104

   

Unifying Concepts and Processes Standard

 

104

   

Science as Inquiry Standards

 

105

   

Physical Science, Life Science, and Earth and Space Science Standards

 

106

   

Science and Technology Standards

 

106

   

Science in Personal and Social Perspectives Standards

 

107

   

History and Nature of Science Standards

 

107

   

Form of the Content Standards

 

108

   

Criteria for the Content Standards

 

109

   

Use of the Content Standards

 

111

   

Changing Emphases for Contents

 

113

   

Content Standard: K-12

 

115

   

Content Standards: K-4

 

121

   

Science as Inquiry

 

121

   

Physical Science

 

123

   

Life Science

 

127

   

Earth and Space Science

 

130

   

Science and Technology

 

135

   

Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

 

138

   

History and Nature of Science

 

141

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4962.
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Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4962.
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The world looks so different after learning science.

For example, trees are made of air, primarily. When they are burned, they go back to air, and in the flaming heat is released the flaming heat of the sun which was bound in to convert the air into tree. [A]nd in the ash is the small remnant of the part which did not come from air, that came from the solid earth, instead.

These are beautiful things, and the content of science is wonderfully full of them. They are very inspiring, and they can be used to inspire others.

Richard Feynman

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4962.
×

Call to Action

This nation has established as a goal that all students should achieve scientific literacy. The National Science Education Standards are designed to enable the nation to achieve that goal. They spell out a vision of science education that will make scientific literacy for all a reality in the 21st century. They point toward a destination and provide a roadmap for how to get there.

All of us have a stake, as individuals and as a society, in scientific literacy. An understanding of science makes it possible for everyone to share in the richness and excitement of comprehending the natural world. Scientific literacy enables people to use scientific principles and processes in making personal decisions and to participate in discussions of scientific issues that affect society. A sound grounding in science strengthens many of the skills that people use every day, like solving problems creatively, thinking critically, working cooperatively in teams, using technology effectively, and valuing life-long learning. And the economic productivity of our society is tightly linked to the scientific and technological skills of our work force.

Many types of individuals will play a critical role in improving science education: teachers; science supervisors; curriculum developers; publishers; those who work in museums, zoos, and science centers; science educators; scientists and engineers across the nation; school administrators; school board members; parents; members of business and industry; and legislators and other public officials.

Individuals from all of these groups were involved in the development of the National Science Education Standards, and now all must act together in the national interest. Achieving scientific literacy will take time because the Standards call for dramatic changes throughout school systems. They emphasize a new way of teaching and learning about science that reflects how science itself is done, emphasizing inquiry as a way of achieving knowledge and understanding about the world. They also invoke changes in what students are taught, in how their performance is assessed, in how teachers are educated and keep pace, and in the relationship between schools and the rest of the community—including the nation's scientists and engineers. The Standards make acquiring scientific knowledge, understanding, and abilities a central aspect of education, just as science has become a central aspect of our society.

The National Science Education Standards are premised on a conviction that all students deserve and must have the opportunity to become scientifically literate. The Standards look toward a future in which all Americans, familiar with basic scientific ideas and processes, can have fuller and more productive lives. This is a vision of great hope and optimism for America, one that can act as a powerful unifying force in our society. We are excited and hopeful about the difference that the Standards will make in the lives of individuals and the vitality of the nation.

RICHARD KLAUSNER,

CHAIRMAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENT

BRUCE ALBERTS,

PRESIDENT NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4962.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4962.
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Americans agree that our students urgently need better science education. But what should they be expected to know and be able to do? Can the same expectations be applied across our diverse society?

These and other fundamental issues are addressed in National Science Education Standards--a landmark development effort that reflects the contributions of thousands of teachers, scientists, science educators, and other experts across the country.

The National Science Education Standards offer a coherent vision of what it means to be scientifically literate, describing what all students regardless of background or circumstance should understand and be able to do at different grade levels in various science categories.

The standards address:

  • The exemplary practice of science teaching that provides students with experiences that enable them to achieve scientific literacy.
  • Criteria for assessing and analyzing students' attainments in science and the learning opportunities that school science programs afford.
  • The nature and design of the school and district science program.
  • The support and resources needed for students to learn science.

These standards reflect the principles that learning science is an inquiry-based process, that science in schools should reflect the intellectual traditions of contemporary science, and that all Americans have a role in improving science education.

This document will be invaluable to education policymakers, school system administrators, teacher educators, individual teachers, and concerned parents.

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