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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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U.S. Science Education: Where's the Beef?
15 October 1996 8:00 pm
Elementary and secondary schools are sacrificing in-depth understanding of science by trying to cover too much ground, concludes a report released today by the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Being taught from a syllabus that's "a mile wide and an inch deep," the report states, could be one reason why U.S. students do relatively poorly on international achievement tests.
TIMSS is a 5-year international project to compare curricula and achievement in 50 countries. The new report, "A Splintered Vision: An Investigation of U.S. Science and Mathematics Education," compares the U.S. results to those of the rest of the world. Three other reports released by TIMSS today examine the international teaching of science as well as mathematics and offer in-depth case studies from six countries. The first student achievement results and reports on curricula in many other countries will be released in November.
The reports reveal marked differences in the way math and science are taught around the world, says William Schmidt, a statistician at Michigan State University and U.S. coordinator for the study. The U.S. curriculum attempts to cover many more topics in a single year than the international average. Teachers respond by attempting to teach a topic a week, says education professor Marcia Linn of the University of California, Berkeley, an adviser to the TIMSS study, but that approach "denies students the opportunity to find out what it is like to have a deep understanding of any subject."
Schmidt says the report calls for making tough choices on what to omit. "We leave the debate over how to do that to the public and to Congress," he says. "But there are no magic bullets."