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A Commentary on the Profound Changes Envisioned by the National Science Standards


by John C. Wright & Carol S. Wright — 1998

The national standards for science education set the goal for all students to attain scientific literacy, but they do not specify how to reach that goal. This article seeks to achieve a clearer understanding of scientific literacy from the viewpoint of a university faculty member. For scientific literacy, it is essential that all students acquire more than mere knowledge and appreciation of science. They must also develop a “can-do?attitude and effective problem-solving skills and apply them in their everyday lives. These attitudes and skills require inquiry experiences at all grade levels, and it is crucial for university faculty to provide similar experiences for our future teachers. Attaining those skills requires student control over their own learning if they are to have ownership. Successful curriculum reform requires changes in the attitudes and traditions that shape how students, faculty, and parents perceive the learning process. The article concludes with the question whether there are still crucial questions to answer before the foundations are strong enough to support massive systemic reform.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 100 Number 1, 1998, p. 122-149
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10300, Date Accessed: 9/22/2017 8:21:13 PM

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About the Author
  • John Wright
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
    John C. Wright is Evan Halfaer Professor of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been deeply involved in reforming the way chemistry courses are taught at the university level and in the development of new assessment methods that are credible to university faculty.
  • Carol Wright
    Monona Grove School District, Wisconsin
    E-mail Author
    Carol S. Wright is coordinator of gifted and talented programming, Monoma Grove School District, Wisconsin.
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