US Averages Grade of C in 2012 State Science Standards

After awarding the nation an average C grade in the State of State Science Standards 2012, the Fordham Institute has concluded that science performance across the country is lagging.

As the economy struggles to keep up with the advancing demands of science instruction, states are failing to keep standards of science lessons high, says the study that evaluated standards from every state and the District of Columbia.

The majority of states earned Ds or Fs in the report, while only 5 states and the District of Columbia received an A- or above. Three-quarters of states received a C or lower, with 10 of those states receiving failing grades.

States struggled the most with "vagueness and an overemphasis of ‘inquiry-based learning' instruction", while "overwhelmingly failing to clearly convey the crucial connection between math and science."

Stan Heffner, Ohio superintendent for public instruction, said their "B" grade demonstrated how clear, thorough and academically demanding the state's science standards are, writes Margo Rutledge Kissell at the Dayton Daily News.

Heffner said:

"Fordham's assessment of Ohio's science standards reinforces our commitment to preparing Ohio's children to pursue careers and compete and win against anyone, anytime and anywhere in the world.

"Rigorous expectations, especially in the STEM subjects, are essential to restoring Ohio's economic standing."

While the researchers note an improvement in the instruction of evolution since Fordham's last assessment of state science standards in 2005, many states are still judged to have inadequately taught the topic.

Achieve, Inc. is working with struggling states to produce multi-state Next Generation Science Standards over the coming year. 26 states have teamed up with the organization so far to create "key scientific practices, concepts and ideas that all students should learn by the time they complete high school."

David Lawrence, principal and chief academic officer of the Dayton Regional STEM School in Kettering, believes that Ohio is a trailblazer in developing STEM initiatives.

The 10-school Ohio STEM Learning Network also offers students internships with key partners like Wright-Patterson Air Force Research Lab, Miami Valley Research Park and Wright State University.

"We blur the lines between the real world and the STEM world.

"That is the next frontier of STEM education — not just that you have a STEM program but that students are immersed in it from a work setting and an academic setting."

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