Opinion
Science Letter to the Editor

Research Underscores Science-Learning Shortfall

August 08, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Your July 13 News in Brief section included a summary of the recently released report from the National Research Council on the need to place the same amount of emphasis on science as math (“NRC: Put Science on Par With Math,” Education Week, July 13, 2011). Unfortunately, as the report indicates, science education suffers from benign neglect and is not treated equally. Data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, or TIMSS, confirm this sentiment: In the United States, on average, 4th graders are provided 4.2 hours per week of instruction in mathematics, while the science instruction they receive is allotted only 2.7 hours each week.

When one examines the classroom instruction time devoted to science as a percent of total instructional time across countries in 4th grade, one finds that the United States is below such countries as Armenia, Austria, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, El Salvador, Germany, Iran, Japan, Singapore, Slovenia, and Yemen.

The challenge is how to find more time for science while at the same time covering the reading and math demands that are part of the No Child Left Behind assessment parameters. The recent adoption of common-core state standards may provide a pathway for this transition in two ways.

First, the document clearly indicates the importance and need for our students to read a much greater percentage of nonfiction text. Part of the reading instructional time could be allocated to reading science, thus accomplishing two important objectives at once. Second, the two Race to the Top-funded testing consortia are embarking on plans to test higher-order skills, and science could and should play a larger role in this effort.

Elizabeth Lattanzio

Product Analyst

MetaMetrics

Durham, N.C.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the August 10, 2011 edition of Education Week as Research Underscores Science-Learning Shortfall

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Assessment Webinar
The State of Assessment in K-12 Education
What is the impact of assessment on K-12 education? What does that mean for administrators, teachers and most importantly—students?
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Centering the Whole Child in School Improvement Planning and Redesign
Learn how leading with equity and empathy yield improved sense of belonging, attendance, and promotion rate to 10th grade.

Content provided by Panorama
Teaching Profession Webinar Examining the Evidence: Supports to Promote Teacher Well-Being
Rates of work dissatisfaction are on the rise among teachers. Grappling with an increased workload due to the pandemic and additional stressors have exacerbated feelings of burnout and demoralization. Given these challenges, what can the

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Science Here's How to Make Science More Relevant for Students of Color
Students get more out of science class, these teachers say, when the lessons are linked to their own lives and communities.
5 min read
Chemistry teacher Nina Hike poses for a portrait in her classroom at George Westinghouse College Prep on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021 in Chicago, IL. Through her curriculum, Hike highlights scientific discoveries by women and people of color, and also teaches students about environmental racism.
Chemistry teacher Nina Hike poses for a portrait in her classroom at George Westinghouse College Prep on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021 in Chicago, IL. Through her curriculum, Hike highlights scientific discoveries by women and people of color, and also teaches students about environmental racism.
Taylor Glascock for Education Week
Science COVID-19 Is a Science Lesson Waiting to Happen
Teachers have more information about the virus now than in March 2020, but barriers remain to focusing on the pandemic in class.
8 min read
Conceptual illustration of sectioned off people studying a Covid-19 Virus
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Jorm Sangsorn/iStock
Science Finding Hope in the Face of Climate Change: Why Some Teachers Focus on Solutions
Learning about climate change can make students feel anxious or hopeless. A solution-focused teaching approach gives them a reason for hope.
11 min read
Conceptual illustration of hand reaching into an atom and picking the planet earth
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Frances Coch/iStock
Science 5 Ways to Teach Climate Change and COVID-19 During Polarized Times
Rampant misinformation and politics have made science teachers' jobs harder. Teachers share five strategies to teach sensitive topics.
9 min read
Linda Rost, a finalist for the 2020 National Teacher of the Year and a high school science teacher, teaches at Baker High School in Baker, Mont. on Nov. 3, 2021.
Linda Rost teaches a science class at Baker High School in Baker, Mont., earlier this month. She has received some pushback for teaching about COVID-19.
Leslie Bohle for Education Week