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Science--Study and teaching (Secondary)--Minnesota


There is a national priority for change in education, and in science education particularly (1). In a review of national data, the National Science Board (2) states that American students perform poorly in comparison with students from other industrialized nations and even with students from some third world countries. The 1986 National Assessment of Educational Progress science assessment (3) provides evidence that student understanding of science concepts is improving from the recent past but still has not compensated for declines in the 1970s. The NAEP science data suggest that a majority of our nation's 17-year-olds are poorly equipped for informed citizenship and productive performance in the workplace, let alone postsecondary studies in science.

But what is the status of science education in Minnesota? Data from a survey of principals and science teachers in grades 7-12 conducted in 1989 throughout Minnesota can provide some answers. Two comprehensive questionnaires were designed, one for principals and one for science teachers, using items from previous assessments of science teachers both from within Minnesota ( 4,5) and from national surveys (6,7). This duplication of items allowed for comparisons within Minnesota over time and with science teachers nationally.

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