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Benchmarks For Science Literacy

by Project 2061

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From Library Journal
Benchmarks is a companion volume to the acclaimed Science for All Americans (Oxford Univ. Pr., 1990), which told us what it means to be science-literate. Intended for educators at levels K-12, Science told "what" while Benchmarks tells "how." The result of a four-year, grass-roots project developed by six teams of educators across the United States, Benchmarks is not an actual curriculum but a "tool" for teachers to use in designing curriculum that fits local needs, calls upon their imagination, and meets the grade-level standards set in Science. It is anticipated that, as a "developing product," Benchmarks will always be changing. This first printing guides teachers in meeting "thresholds" in achieving the important goal of creating science-literate adults, who can think "critically and independently" in this increasingly complex world. Essential for all school libraries.
- Diane M. Fortner, Univ. of California Lib., Berkeley
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

"For those teachers who still need direction (generally speaking) about the content they should be teaching . . . and the cognitive enhancement of their students."--John Burns, California Polytechnic, Pomona

"All teachers need to read Benchmarks, especially the research findings in Chapter 12. Why keep on teaching fallacies as fact to our students? I highly recommend this for all teachers of science."--Nancy J. Armour, Beaverdam `lementary, Elberton, GA

"Required study for all elementary and middle school teachers and all high school science teachers. Also administrators. A milestone publication."--George D. Nelson, University of Washington

"At a time when the debate over the effectiveness of the U.S. educational system has grown increasingly acrimonious, Benchmarks offers a valuable yardstick for measuring progress."--Charles Solomon, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"An excellent resource that gives broad benchmarks for science. The goals are laudable. The work now needs to take place on how to implement these goals."--Ted Moon, Columbia International University

"A thoughtful follow up to Science For All Americans. This work should be required reading for all persons contemplating or implementing modifications in the science curriculum at all levels of learning."--Everett Follette, Black Hills State University

"Essential for all school libraries."--Library Journal

"Benchmarks for Science Literacy, a follow-up to the AAAS' Project 2061 landmark 'Science for All Americans', represents the first comprehensive and detailed set of guidelines to be issued that describes the knowledge and abilities that all students need by the end of grades 2, 5, 8 and 12 to be science literate and to succeed in the workforce. 'Benchmarks for Science Literacy' accomplishes its goal not by offering a standard curriculum to be adopted locally, but by providing educators in every state and school district with a powerful tool to use in fashioning their own curricula. The AAAS and other top science educators are working hard to devise a science education, to promote 'science literacy', for all students. The idea that science is for nerds and geniuses is a myth that needs to finally be put to rest."--Science Technology and Society

Book Description
Published to glowing praise in 1990, Science for All Americans defined the science-literate American--describing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes all students should retain from their learning experience--and offered a series of recommendations for reforming our system of education in science, mathematics, and technology. Benchmarks for Science Literacy takes this one step further. Created in close consultation with a cross-section of American teachers, administrators, and scientists, Benchmarks elaborates on the recommendations to provide guidelines for what all students should know and be able to do in science, mathematics, and technology by the end of grades 2, 5, 8, and 12. These grade levels offer reasonable checkpoints for student progress toward science literacy, but do not suggest a rigid formula for teaching. Benchmarks is not a proposed curriculum, nor is it a plan for one: it is a tool educators can use as they design curricula that fit their student's needs and meet the goals first outlined in Science for All Americans. Far from pressing for a single educational program, Project 2061 advocates a reform strategy that will lead to more curriculum diversity than is common today. IBenchmarks emerged from the work of six diverse school-district teams who were asked to rethink the K-12 curriculum and outline alternative ways of achieving science literacy for all students. These teams based their work on published research and the continuing advice of prominent educators, as well as their own teaching experience. Focusing on the understanding and interconnection of key concepts rather than rote memorization of terms and isolated facts, Benchmarks advocates building a lasting understanding of science and related fields. In a culture increasingly pervaded by science, mathematics, and technology, science literacy require habits of mind that will enable citizens to understand the world around them, make some sense of new technologies as they emerge and grow, and deal sensibly with problems that involve evidence, numbers, patterns, logical arguments, and technology--as well as the relationship of these disciplines to the arts, humanities, and vocational sciences--making science literacy relevant to all students, regardless of their career paths. If Americans are to participate in a world shaped by modern science and mathematics, a world where technological know-how will offer the keys to economic and political stability in the twenty-first century, education in these areas must become one of the nation's highest priorities. Together with Science for All Americans, Benchmarks for Science Literacy offers a bold new agenda for the future of science education in this country, one that is certain to prepare our children for life in the twenty-first century.

About the Author
Since its founding in 1848, the American Association for the Advancement of Science has continually worked to advance science, initially by promoting communication and cooperation between scientists, and, more recently, by enhancing the public understanding and appreciation of science in human progress. An international organization, the AAAS includes over 140,000 scientists, engineers, science educators, policymakers, and others interested in science and technology.



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