A distinguished panel of scientists awarded Ohio's K-12 science standards a "B" in a new nationwide review of state academic standards for primary-secondary school science released today. The State of State Science Standards 2005—the first comprehensive study of science academic standards conducted since 2000—appraised the quality of K-12 science standards as states hustle to meet the No Child Left Behind Act's mandate for testing in this critical subject. The overall results are mixed. Fifteen states flunked, and another seven earned "D" grades. Nine states and D.C. merited a mediocre "C." The states earning "A" marks in the new evaluation include California, Virginia, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Indiana, New York, and New Mexico.
Every state received a letter grade based on how well its standards met a set of rigorous criteria, including:
- Do the standards contain clear and fair expectations by grade level for students?
- Are the standards organized in a sensible way, both showing logical progression from grade to grade and easily navigated so teachers, parents, and the public can understand?
- Is there an appropriate amount of science content and, if so, do the standards outline the best approach to share that content?
- Are the expectations outlined specific enough, yet set high aims that will equip students with the science skills they need for college?
- Are the standards appropriately serious, or do they incorporate pseudo-scientific fads or politics?
"The National Academies, Thomas Friedman, and others have called on Americans to 'get serious' about science, but few state standards can fairly be described as serious," said Chester E. Finn, Jr. "We all know that solid standards like Ohio's don't guarantee a good education for a state's students, but weak standards make it much less likely."
The State of State Science Standards can be found on our web site.