A new report
from the National Research Council calls upon state, national, and local policymakers to elevate K-12 science education to the same level of importance as reading and mathematics.
- A coherent set of standards and curricula
- Teachers with high capacity to teach in their discipline
- A supportive system of assessment and accountability
- Adequate instructional time (time spent on elementary science instruction has decreased in recent years, likely because of focus on reading and math in No Child Left Behind Act)
- Equal access to high-quality STEM learning opportunities
- School conditions and culture that support learning
The report suggests that one way to elevate science to the same level of importance as mathematics and reading is to assess science subjects as frequently as is done for reading and math, using an assessment system that supports learning and understanding.
The report calls upon policymakers to invest in helping educators in STEM fields teach more effectively, including professional development through peer collaboration and professional learning communities, among other approaches. The report also recommends that school districts should consider specialty schools that are targeted to STEM disciplines.
The study, which was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, was authored by a committee chaired by Adam Gamoran, John D. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and Educational Policy Studies and director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.