Massachusetts and Minnesota Tops in Math and Science, Rest of Country Struggling to Make Sense of Numbers
Did you know if Massachusetts was a country it's 8th graders would rank 3rd globally in math and science aptitude? Minnesota (shoutout to Laura, Bob Dylan, and Prince) also ranks pretty high up there. Unfortunately, these two shining examples get lumped in with the rest of our middling United States, which ranks 23rd and 31st, respectively, in science and math. So what is Minnechusetts doing differently?
As a recent article in Scientific America
they each have science standards that set a high bar for what students are expected to learn at each grade level. Such standards form the scaffolding on which educators write curricula and teachers plan lessons, and many experts believe them to be closely linked with student achievement.
While that's all well and good for those 2 states, there's also good news on the horizon for the rest of the country. 26 states, working in collaboration with various organizations, have developed new standards, called Next Generation Science Standards
, "based on recommendations from the National Research Council". The plan also places a special emphasis on engineering.
Educators have already commented on how it still allows for creativity on the part of teachers, but there is also some concern that it may be too ambitious a plan to fit into one school year. There is bipartisan support for improved STEM education standards in congress, but whether or not the Next Generation Science plan gets adopted remains to be seen.
As a means of atonement, I suggest we take turns reading from Darwin's Origin of the Species at next week's D&R.