derived from them — help to maintain a focus on significant ends or outcomes but do not dictate a single means as "the way" to approach instruction. A number of suitable and effective instructional strategies can be used to help students learn the mathematics and science content.

Goals for mathematics and science curriculum programs rarely stand alone. Often, they are derived from a broader set of educational goals already in place for the state or district. Groups designing curriculum programs may decide that their local goals should reflect the goals of the NCTM Standards (NCTM, 1989) and/or the NSES (NRC, 1996b).

The NSES begin with a "Call to Action." The first sentence of this call is an important and broad goal: "The nation has established as a goal that all students should achieve scientific literacy" (NRC, 1996b). That overarching goal clearly and unambiguously frames the other goals by stating that the standards are to achieve scientific literacy for ALL students. The document then sets out four learning goals that describe students who are able

  • "to experience the richness and excitement of knowing about and understanding the natural world;

  • to use appropriate scientific processes and principles in making personal decisions;

  • to engage intelligently in public discourse and debate about matters of scientific and technological concern; and

  • to increase their economic productivity through the use of the knowledge, understanding, and skills of the scientifically literate person in their careers."

The NCTM Standards state that ". . . today's society expects schools to insure that all students have an opportunity to become mathematically literate, are capable of extending their learning, have an equal opportunity to learn, and become informed citizens capable of understanding issues in a technological society" (NCTM, 1989). Following that opening charge, five goals for ALL students are given:

  • that they learn to value mathematics;

  • that they become competent and confident in their ability to do mathematics;

  • that they become mathematical problem solvers;

  • that they learn to communicate mathematically; and

  • that they learn to reason mathematically."

Criteria for Goals

  • The target audience should be clearly specified. The NSES and NCTM



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