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Action A-2 Part 4: K–12 Curricular Materials Modeled on World-Class Standards

The fourth part of the K–12 recommendation asks the Department of Education to convene a national panel to collect K–12 science and mathematics teaching materials that have been proven effective or develop new ones where no effective models exist. All materials would be made available online, free of charge, as a voluntary national curriculum that would provide an effective high standard for K–12 teachers.

High-quality teaching is grounded in careful vertical alignment of curricula, assessments, and student achievement standards. Efforts to directly evaluate curricular quality have often foundered in the past,37 but the need still exists. Excellent resources for the development of K–12 science, technology, and mathematics curricular materials include the National Science Education Standards,38 Project 2061,39 and numerous Web-based compendia, including the National Science Digital Library.40 Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM), sponsored by the US Department of Education, is a collaborative effort to collect materials and provide them free to educators. The GEM Web site offers more than 20,000 educational resources, catalogued by type and grade level. Although GEM can be cumbersome to use, it has been lauded as an exemplary effort. GEM also has made it clear that teacher education programs need to add a technology component.41

Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is a national program with partners in public schools, colleges and universities, and the private sector.42 The project

37

Math and Science Expert Panel. Exemplary Promising Mathematics Programs. Washington, DC: US Department of Education, 1999; National Research Council. On Evaluating Curricular Effectiveness: Judging the Quality of K–12 Mathematics Evaluations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2004.

38

National Research Council. National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1996; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. Washington, DC: NCTM, 2000. Available at: http://standards.nctm.org.

39

Project 2061, sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is an initiative to reform K–12 education nationwide so that all high school graduates are science literate. In the first stage of its work, Project 2061 published Science for All Americans, which outlines what all students should know and be able to do in science, mathematics, and technology after 13 years of schooling. See F. J. Rutherford and A. Ahlgren. Science for All Americans. Washington, DC: AAAS, October 1990. Available at: http://www.project2061.org/default_flash.htm.

40

The “National Digital Science Library.” See: http://nsdl.org.

41

For example, see M. A. Fitzgerald and J. McClendon. 2002. “The Gateway to Educational Materials: An Evaluation Study, Year 3.” A technical report submitted to the US Department of Education, October 10, 2002. Available at: http://www.geminfo.org/Evaluation/Fitzgerald_02.10.pdf.

42

PLTW is now offered in 45 states and the District of Columbia. See http://www.pltw.org/aindex.htm.



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