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December 2006/January 2007 | Volume 64 | Number 4
Science in the Spotlight
Gerald F. Wheeler
The Executive Director of the National Science Teachers Association suggests ways to make large-scale improvements to science education.
A nation's ability to remain an economic and technological leader in a global marketplace relies on how well that nation educates its students in science, technology, engineering, and math. In the United States, the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996) and
Benchmarks for Science Literacy (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1993) describe the knowledge and skills students need in a society dependent on science and technology. States and districts have modeled their own standards on these national documents, and stakeholders at every level are struggling to evaluate, modify, and develop assessments, curriculums, and instructional materials to reflect this vision of science literacy. Moving that vision into the classroom, however, depends on the competence of science teachers.
Several studies reveal a positive correlation between student achievement and teachers' content knowledge (Chaney, 1995; Darling-Hammond, 2000; Druva & Anderson, 1983). Unfortunately, teacher preparation programs do not appear to be adequately providing content knowledge to science teachers (Allen, 2003). Significant numbers of science teachers lack degrees or even college coursework in the science they are assigned to teach, especially at the elementary level (National Center for Education Statistics, 2002; Weiss, Banilower, McMahon, & Smith, 2001).
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Copyright © 2006 by Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
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