standards, and it demonstrated that participation in the development of standards had to be open to all interested parties, especially those responsible for their realization.

The National Science Education Standards had several important precursors. In 1983, A Nation at Risk was published, calling for reconsideration and reform of the U.S. education system. In the 1980s, the American chemical Society (ACS), the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, the Education Development Center, the Lawrence Hall of Science, the National Science Resources Center (NSRC), and the Technical Education Resources Center all developed innovative science curricula. In 1989, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), through its Project 2061, published Science for All Americans, defining scientific literacy for all high school graduates. Somewhat later, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), through its Scope, Sequence & Coordination Project, published The Content Core.

In the spring of 1991, the NSTA president, reflecting a unanimous vote of the NSTA board, wrote to Dr. Frank Press—president of the National Academy of Sciences and chairman of the National Research Council (NRC)—asking the NRC to coordinate development of national science education standards. The presidents of several leading science and science education associations, the U.S. secretary of education, the assistant director for education and human resources at the National Science Foundation, and the cochairs of the National Education Goals Panel all encouraged the NRC to play a leading role in the effort to develop national standards for science education in content, teaching, and assessment. Shortly thereafter, major funding for this project was provided by the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation.

To oversee the important process of standards development, the NRC established the National Committee on Science Education Standards and Assessment (NCSESA). The committee was chaired successively by Dr. James Ebert and (from November 1993) Dr. Richard Klausner. In addition, the Chair's Advisory Committee was formed, consisting of representatives from NSTA, AAAS, ACS, NSRC, the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Council of State Science Supervisors, the Earth Science Education Coalition, and the National Association of Biology Teachers. This group helped to identify and recruit staff and volunteers for all of the committees and working groups that were required.

The oversight committee (NCSESA) first met in May 1992, and the three working groups (content, teaching, and assessment) each held intense working sessions over the summer. An initial phase of standards development lasted through the fall of 1993. During that 18 months, input to the standards was solicited from large numbers of science teachers, scientists, science educators, and many others interested in science education. More than 150 public presentations were made to promote discussion about issues in science education reform and the nature and content of science education standards.

Late in 1993, work began on the production of a complete "predraft" of the science education standards. This predraft was released in May 1994 to a selected set of



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement