Current Conceptions of Science Achievement in Major Reform Documents and Implications for Equity and Assessment
The construct of science achievementwhat K12 students should know and be able to do in scienceis central to science education reform. This paper presents current conceptions of science achievement in major reform documents and considers implications for assessment and equity in the context of standards-based and systemic reform. The paper reviews documents on science content standards (NSES and Project 2061), performance standards (New Standards), and large-scale assessment frameworks (1996 NAEP and TIMSS). The results indicate that there is an overall agreement on the conceptions of science achievement. Although equity is emphasized as the key principle, the aggregated view of science achievement in these documents is largely defined in the tradition of Western science. Alternative perspectives from multiculturalism, feminism, critical theory, and postmodernism are considered to develop a more inclusive and broader conception of science achievement for students from diverse backgrounds.
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