N.A.S. Delays Release of Draft Science Standards

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Officials of the National Academy of Sciences here have decided to delay the release, initially scheduled for this month, of the first full draft of national standards for science content, teaching, and assessment.

Although a summary of the draft standards will be released this week at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco, the full standards are not now slated to be made public until this summer.

"The standards are going through a review process that's quite different from what we thought we were going to do,'' Cheryl Greenhouse, an academy spokeswoman, said.

The delay in releasing the first draft of the science standards is only one of several personnel and procedural changes that the project has experienced. Last year, for example, both the head of the content-standards committee and the project's director of "critique and consensus'' resigned.

Sources familiar with the proj-ect said those and other high-level resignations, fueled by internal dissatisfaction with the process, are primarily responsible for the delays.

"It's a constant falling back and regrouping,'' one source said.

Officials overseeing the standards project at the academy's National Research Council initially expected to produce a first draft of the content standards late last year, with standards for science teaching and assessment standards to follow this year.

In a process radically different from the N.R.C.'s usual confidential approach, early drafts of the content standards have undergone a lengthy critique and consensus by thousands of practitioners and scientists in the field.

'Focus Groups' To Review

Bruce M. Alberts, who became the president of the academy last summer, decided that "focus groups'' of scientific professionals should review the draft before being released to the public.

Mr. Alberts, a nationally known biochemist, has publicly committed the academy to an active role in science-education reform. (See Education Week, Nov. 24, 1993.)

Meanwhile, James D. Ebert, a former vice president of the academy, has stepped down as the chairman of the science-standards proj-ect.

Mr. Ebert has been replaced by Richard D. Klausner, an academy member and the chief of the cell-biology and metabolism branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Vol. 13, Issue 22

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