The standards-based reform effort that began in the 1990s was a significant step forward in the science education community. It sought to establish a coherent system focused on giving all students a sufficient level of knowledge and skills in science. For many reasons, however, the movement has not brought about the sweeping changes that were hoped for in classroom teaching and learning. Numerous challenges still exist, especially at the state level, where national standards are pared down and turned into frameworks and goals for individual districts and classroom teachers.
The science education community is desperately searching for a way to take the standards to a new level by helping educators focus more deeply on a set of core topics, integrate up-to-date science content, utilize research on learning, and connect to meaningful assessments. As the nation’s largest organization devoted to excellence in science teaching and learning, NSTA can and should be the leader of this effort.
The NSTA Leadership Institute is taking a lead role in developing the next generation of science standards to ensure greater clarity and consistency across the nation. The Institute will convene the nation’s experts to examine how best to take science standards to the next level to meet the needs of today's teachers and students, and to address the political challenges of aligning 50 states with a shared coherent and consistent vision. The effort—initially called Science Anchors—will focus on core science concepts that reflect a national consensus on what is most essential for 21st-century learning and provide clear recommendations for effective implementation in U.S. classrooms. In essence, Science Anchors will align the states in science education by emphasizing key science concepts and practices for all students. The aim is to avoid another decade of uneven state implementation of science education curricula, instruction, and assessment—a decade the nation cannot afford to lose.
To learn more about Science Anchors, click here.
How You Can Help