Science And Mathematics Education

The Education Encyclopedia is a resource for professional educators as well as students in an education program. Although inquiry and the scientific method are integral to science education and practice, every decision we make is based on these processes. Natural human curiosity and necessity lead to asking questions (What is the problem?), constructing a hypothesis (How do I solve it?), testing it with evidence and evaluating the result (Did the solution work?), and making future decisions based on that result.

Washington, DC — On Saturday, March 17, middle and high school students in the nation’s capital showed off their science and math skills in a full-day celebration of STEM education and innovation at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School. More than 100 local students participated in the 2018 DC STEM Fair, where they presented their own science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) projects to a group of 80 volunteer judges, including representatives from local universities, STEM professional organizations, research institutions, and STEM employer groups.

Understanding science is multifaceted. Research has often treated aspects of scientific proficiency as discrete. However, current research indicates that proficiency in one aspect of science is closely related to proficiency in others (e.g., analytic reasoning skills are greater when one is reasoning about familiar domains). Like strands of a rope, the strands of scientific proficiency are intertwined. However, for purposes of being clear about learning and learning outcomes, the committee discusses these four strands separately (see Box 2-1 for a summary).

Optimism for even greater successes with meeting the goal of scientific literacy for all is a central focus for science teacher education. Certainly the new Centers for Learning and Teaching that NSF began funding in 2000 are designed to help. By definition they combine preservice and in-service science education-making the two seamlessly connected. They require a common research base while also assuring that a major effort of the center will be to extend that research base. They must design and implement new doctorate programs to prepare future leaders. The history of science education is replete with identification of current problems, new ideas for their resolution, major national funding (since 1960), and then almost immediate abandonment after initial trials are not successful. The current challenge facing science teacher education is whether there is adequate national commitment, determination, and know-how to realize the visions elaborated in current reform documents.

We also know that only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in math and interested in a STEM career. Even among those who do go on to pursue a college major in the STEM fields, only about half choose to work in a related career. The United States is falling behind internationally, ranking 29th in math and 22nd in science among industrialized nations. What’s more, a recent survey revealed that only 29 percent of Americans rated this country’s K-12 education in STEM subjects as above average or the best in the world. In our competitive global economy, this situation is unacceptable.