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Most States Revamping Curricula In Science and Math, Survey Finds

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Mathematics and science reforms at the state level over the past five years have focused on curricula and alternative assessments, a national survey by the Council of Chief State School Officers has found.

In contrast, since 1987, only a few states have tightened high-school graduation requirements or teacher-certification requirements in the two subjects, according to the survey of 50 state education agencies.

The report, "State Policies on Science and Mathematics Education: 1992,'' is the fifth in a series conducted by the C.C.S.S.O with support from the National Science Foundation.

The survey found that teaching and assessment standards formulated by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics are influencing state policymakers. It indicates that 42 states have aligned or are aligning their math frameworks with the N.C.T.M. standards.

The survey also found that 30 states have established a science framework or guide, while an another 14 are developing such guidelines.

Twenty states are planning or implementing alternative assessments for math, while another 16 are doing so for science.

Teacher-certification requirements have become "slightly'' tougher since 1987, with most changes affecting the middle and secondary grades. On average, states require 27 course credits for secondary math certification and 30 credits for secondary science certification.

The survey also found that 38 states have some form of alternative certification.

At the elementary-school level--frequently cited as a weak link in precollegiate science education--only 26 states require teachers to obtain any course credits in science and mathematics.

On average, states require elementary-school teachers to earn only six credits in science or math. Only 29 states require elementary teachers to take a methods course to teach elementary science or math.

Copies of the report may be obtained for $5 each from the C.C.S.S.O., 1 Massachusetts Ave., Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20001-1431.
--P.W.

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