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The National Science Education Standards address not only what students should learn about science but also how their learning should be assessed. How do we know what they know? This accompanying volume to the Standards focuses on a key kind of assessment: the evaluation that occurs regularly in the classroom, by the teacher and his or her students as interacting participants. As students conduct experiments, for example, the teacher circulates around the room and asks individuals about their findings, using the feedback to adjust lessons plans and take other actions to boost learning. Focusing on the teacher as the primary player in assessment, the book offers assessment guidelines and explores how they can be adapted to the individual classroom. It features examples, definitions, illustrative vignettes, and practical suggestions to help teachers obtain the greatest benefit from this daily evaluation and tailoring process. The volume discusses how classroom assessment differs from conventional testing and grading-and how it fits into the larger, comprehensive assessment system.
Humans, especially children, are naturally curious. Yet, people often balk at the thought of learning science--the "eyes glazed over" syndrome. Teachers may find teaching science a major challenge in an era when science ranges from the hardly imaginable quark to the distant, blazing quasar. Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards is the book that educators have been waiting for--a practical guide to teaching inquiry and teaching through inquiry, as recommended by the National Science Education Standards. This will be an important resource for educators who must help school boards, parents, and teachers understand "why we can't teach the way we used to." "Inquiry" refers to the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and in which students grasp science knowledge and the methods by which that knowledge is produced. This book explains and illustrates how inquiry helps students learn science content, master how to do science, and understand the nature of science. This book explores the dimensions of teaching and learning science as inquiry for K-12 students across a range of science topics. Detailed examples help clarify when teachers should use the inquiry-based approach and how much structure, guidance, and coaching they should provide. The book dispels myths that may have discouraged educators from the inquiry-based approach and illuminates the subtle interplay between concepts, processes, and science as it is experienced in the classroom. Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards shows how to bring the standards to life, with features such as classroom vignettes exploring different kinds of inquiries for elementary, middle, and high school and Frequently Asked Questions for teachers, responding to common concerns such as obtaining teaching supplies. Turning to assessment, the committee discusses why assessment is important, looks at existing schemes and formats, and addresses how to involve students in assessing their own learning achievements. In addition, this book discusses administrative assistance, communication with parents, appropriate teacher evaluation, and other avenues to promoting and supporting this new teaching paradigm.
In 2001, with support from National Science Foundation, the National Research Council began a review of the evidence concerning whether or not the National Science Education Standards have had an impact on the science education enterprise to date, and if so, what that impact has been. This publication represents the second phase of a three-phase effort by the National Research Council to answer that broad and very important question. Phase I began in 1999 and was completed in 2001, with publication of Investigating the Influence of Standards: A Framework for Research in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education (National Research Council, 2002). That report provided organizing principles for the design, conduct, and interpretation of research regarding the influence of national standards. The Framework developed in Phase I was used to structure the current review of research that is reported here. Phase II began in mid-2001, involved a thorough search and review of the research literature on the influence of the NSES, and concludes with this publication, which summarizes the proceedings of a workshop conducted on May 10, 2002, in Washington, DC. Phase III will provide input, collected in 2002, from science educators, administrators at all levels, and other practitioners and policy makers regarding their views of the NSES, the ways and extent to which the NSES are influencing their work and the systems that support science education, and what next steps are needed.
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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