National Standards, Social Commitments, and Scientific Literacy
The National Science Education Standards define the level of understanding of science that all students should develop, regardless of background, future aspirations, or interest in science. The standards embody the belief that all students can learn science. These standards encourage all students—including members of populations defined by race, ethnicity, economic status, gender, and physical and intellectual capacity—to study science throughout their school years and to pursue careers in science. By adopting the goal of science for all, the standards will promote the participation of all students in challenging opportunities to learn science.
The Standards forcefully advocate the inclusion of those who traditionally have not received encouragement and opportunities to learn science—women and girls, all racial and ethnic groups, the physically and educationally challenged, and those with limited proficiency in English—as well as those who have traditionally made achievements in science: the gifted and talented students.
Various methods of learning and different sources of motivation are accommodated because the curriculum, teaching, and assessment standards take into account the diversity of the student population, disparate interests, motivation, experience, and ways of understanding science. The standards define criteria for high-quality instructional experiences that engage all students in the full range of science content. These experiences teach the nature and processes of science. In addition to the subject matter, they will reinforce the belief that people of diverse backgrounds can engage and participate in science. They will uphold the premise that all students have a claim on understanding science as a common human heritage.
The National Science Education Standards present an explicit definition of scientific literacy. School science education contributes to the broader goals of education by providing students with a scientific understanding of the natural world through knowledge of the basic concepts of science, scientific modes of inquiry, the nature of the scientific endeavor, and the historical, social, and intellectual contexts within which science is practiced. The ability to apply such scientific knowledge to aspects of one’s personal and civic life is referred to as scientific literacy.
© ______ 2008, Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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