The Relative Comment

soothing waves of relativity

grading the states’ science standards.

with 2 comments

Found this over at Pharyngula. And it is interesting stuff.

The Fordham Institute has released their State of State Science Standards 2012, which grades every state’s K-12 standards for science education. The introduction highlights four problems areas creating substandard education: an undermining of evolution, a propensity to be vague, poor integration of scientific inquiry, and a lack of numbers, mathematical formulae and equations.

How did your state do?

Minnesota, unfortunately, got a C. I was a little surprised by that. But then I realized, again unfortunately, I probably shouldn’t be. MN got a 5/10, and if that’s a C, I assume this is graded on a pretty curvaceous curve.

Why did we get a C? Here’s the MN Overview:

The Minnesota science standards are like the frustrating student who does excellent work two days a week but shoddy work on the other three. When the standards are “on,” they are cogent and challenging. But too often they are marred by vague, incorrect, or grade-inappropriate material, or are missing key content entirely.

Other noteworthy inclusions on subjects of TRC’s interest on Minnesota science standards:

  • Though a minor issue, the standards are occasionally marred by an inappropriate focus on local beliefs
  • The high school physics standards are marred by illogical organization
  • The physical science standards are barely passable
  • The  Minnesota earth and space science standards are reasonably  comprehensive, covering the water cycle, mineral properties, fossils, and natural resources. The basic structure of the solar system is also well covered.
There’s a lot in these reports. If you are interested in science education, it is worth a quick look, if for no other reason than to see how well your particular interest is getting treated. These are some tough graders, remember. The only As given were to California and Washington, D.C. And notice that the mountain West is swimming in a sea of failure to educate on science. Alas.

Written by Christopher ZF

February 3, 2012 at 16:01

2 Responses

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  1. I can tell you that standards does not equal results. The boarder question is, how much standards should the state set? Now this isn’t a science, but more of an education policy question. I don’t have a good answer, but I don’t want standards to be super prescriptive in history or english. Again, I’m not saying standards need to be in place, but I’d like more context to the discussion.

    Paging… Mr. Freeman.

    Redhead in Rapid

    February 3, 2012 at 18:27

  2. I hear you. But you have to have standards for science. Otherwise you would have too many kids not learning science. Granted, I’m not saying what they should be. Many science teachers already neglect evolution entirely, or give it 1 class period in biology. and evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology, if it weren’t required in the standards, many teachers would just cut it.

    I also recognize that this post is about the standards and not about the success of teaching those standards.


    February 4, 2012 at 09:25

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