Report Urges Improving Science Literacy

Black Issues in Higher Education, April 2, 1998 | Go to article overview

Report Urges Improving Science Literacy


PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Within the next ten years, science literacy will become a job requirement for those seeking employment in all types of industries. However. today's students are not learning science in a way that encourages critical thinking, problem solving, and other related skills.

These findings, from a study released in late February by the Bayer Corporation -- coupled with the poor performance by U.S. twelfth graders in science and math as reported by the Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) - prompted President Bill Clinton to acknowledge. "There is something wrong with the public education system and it is this adult generation's responsibility to fix it."

According to the Bayer report, What America Thinks About Science Education Reform, a hands-on, inquiry-based science curriculum would be the most effective way to prepare students for their future careers. However, not enough students are being taught this way. Additionally, few elementary school teachers feel adequately prepared to teach science.

Earlier this year, TIMSS results showed that twelfth-grade American students ranked near the bottom of the world's industrial nations when evaluating their science and math skills.

To increase science literacy, the Bayer reports suggests: Science should be taught as the "fourth R" and given equal importance, equal time, and equal teaching skills as reading, writing, and math. …

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