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Canadian Center of Science and Education Highlights Pros, Cons of Science Standards

The United States is looking to develop more effective science standards and the Canadian Center of Science and Education reveals pros and cons of the proposed plan.
 
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    PHILADELPHIA, PA, August 31, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The Canadian Center of Science and Education strongly supports scientific research and education for the benefit of future generations. In an effort to improve the science knowledge of its students, the United States has begun developing more rigorous state standards. It has already incorporated new math and language arts standards to unify learning across the country. A recent article in The State Journal-Register outlines these science plans in more detail, revealing some of the rewards and challenges they present.

Twenty-six states banded together in 2011 to start developing the Next Generation Science Standards, meant to update and improve the previous standards. The new standards focus more on making science a hands-on learning process to keep students interested and increase their knowledge. Compared to other countries in the world, the United States is falling behind. The article notes that on the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment the United States ranked 17th in science.

The new standards cover less content, but go more in-depth on the material that is taught. Students learn core concepts that are applicable in many areas, and engage in more rigorous problem-solving, research, and analysis. Science teacher Chris Embry Mohr explains, "A student would have to develop a model to explain how cells are made up of atoms and molecules, rather than simply knowing that cells are made up of atoms and molecules." They would learn practical applications for the information taught. Many believe these standards will help to better prepare students for future careers.

Some are wary of the proposed plan, however. They believe that it will take away local control of curriculum and favor federal control. They also question how controversial topics such as evolution and climate change are addressed. Mohr defends the changes to standards pointing out that current curriculum standards are outdated and emphasize the memorization of facts. The new standards would focus on deeper development and understanding of ideas and why the information is important. Students would learn how to research and analyze material so that they could apply it to future learning.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute expresses its concern that states already have a lot to implement with the Common Core standards for English and math. The addition of new science standards as well could become overwhelming for some states. States such as Illinois are still weighing their options and looking at the changes that the new standards would bring. They have not committed to overhauling their science education just yet.

The Canadian Center of Science and Education supports promoting higher achievement in science, but notes that states should do what is right for them. "The standards are still under development and states should look at the changes that they are realistically able to make. The future of science is making it more hands-on and helping students to gain a deeper understanding of core concepts, but it will take time." The Canadian Center of Science and Education funds educational projects and scholarships related to the study of science.

ABOUT:

The Canadian Center of Science and Education is a private, for-profit organization dedicated to supporting researchers and educators around the world. Through educational programs for students, financial support for researchers, international education projects, and scientific publications, they promote ongoing work that benefits future generations. Providing up-to-date information is important for research and education and the CCSE publishes more than 40 peer-reviewed, scholarly journals covering a wide range of academic fields. They are available in print and electronic versions and are free to download online.



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