Development of the Science Curriculum since 1900

  • NEA

    In 1857, one hundred educators answered a national call to unite as one voice in the cause of public education.
  • Committee of Ten

    NEA founds the Committee of Ten
    Working group of educators that recommended the standardization of American high school curriculum.
  • Period: to

    High School Curriculum

    The early high school curriculum was determined not so much by the state courses of study as by the views of college leaders about the subjects essential to preparation for college.
    A list of subjects prepared by the Committee of Ten in 1893 largely dominated the college preparatory program of American high schools until the 1930's
  • Elementary Education Curriculum

    State education authorities prepared and approved lists of subjects to be taught in public elementary schools in their states.
    The curriculum was viewed as the list of subjects and the sequence in which they were to be taught.
    Elementary school subjects were divided into skills and content.
    It was believed that when students had mastered the skill subjects (reading, writing, arithmetic), they had the tools to master the content subjects (geography and history).
  • State Differences

    There were some differences in content subjects, because states usually required teaching the history and geography of their state.
  • Period: to

    Elementary Ed curriculum updated

    The published courses of study issued by the states for public elementary schools changed very little except to add NATURE STUDY as a content subject in the upper grades.
    But the actual curriculum (objectives, content, and learning experiences) changed markedly in those schools that adopted new textbooks and methods and helped teachers learn to use them.
  • Less than 10%

    All states had established public high schools and, although at that time less than 10% of American youth were graduating from high school, the enrollment of young people not planning to go to college was increasing.
  • Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education

    The NEA established the Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education to examine the secondary school curriculum and make recommendations for reorganizing it. The commission released several reports, arguing that while society had changed, education had not. As a result secondary education became more student centered, because it was realized that the same curriculum wasn't equally appropriate for students going on to higher education and students entering the work force.
  • Period: to

    World War I

  • Smith-Hughes Act

    The Smith-Hughes Act was passed, authorizing federal funds for high school vocational programs.
    State boards for vocational education were made responsible for defining the curriculum for such programs, with the result that they were more tightly controlled by the state than most general education courses.
  • Edward Thorndike

    Edward Thorndike
    Thorndike reported that the elements learned in school must be identical with those in life outside the school in order for school learning to be transferred to the world outside.
  • John Dewey

    John Dewey
    John Dewey emphasized the need for continuity of experiences in school and out; believed that school learning activities were part of the student's efforts to understand and deal with the larger world.
  • Denver and St. Louis

    In Denver and St. Louis, citywide curriculum development projects were undertaken at the elementary level. In both cities, the curriculum was changed to be more in line with children's abilities and interests, and to include activities relevant to life in those cities.
    These changes could be made in the local curriculum without changing the state-mandated courses of study.
  • The Great Depression

    The Great Depression
    A sense of crisis was created in American schools. STudents were living in a world that had changed so much they didn't understand what was happening or what they could do about it.
    High school graduates in large numbers were unable to find work and felt their scholing had not prepareed them to be independent adults.
    Many educators began reexamining the curriculum, seeking to make significant reforms.
  • Period: to

    World WAr II

    extensive curriculum development.
    War effort revealed how critical science, math, and technology are for successful military efforts
  • Later into the Great Depression

    Unemployment among youth was nearly 100%.
    High school enrollments doubled as young people, finding no jobs, stayed on in school.

    Most of the new students were not planning to enter college and they were not able to enroll in the vocational courses, which were quite selective. High schools were pressred to develop new curriculums.
  • The Eight Year Study

    followed the students from more than 30 experimental high schools during the 1930's.
    The most effect schools used an approach which was very different, using content from the disciplines of knowledge, but instead of organizing it by subjects, organizing it around themes of significance to their students. This approach was called Core Curriculum (this term now has a different connotation) and is now often referred to as Curriculum Integration.
  • Leaders of the Eight-Year Study

    Leaders established summer workshops and weekend committee activities to provide opportunities for teachers to develop the necessary interest, understanding, skills, and materials.
    Also found a need for intellectual resources on which teachers could draw.
  • Pearl Harbor

    Pearl Harbor
    The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor caused the focus of curriculum development to shift.
    The nation's efforts were concentrated on winning the war and the schools were expected to do their part.
    This included providing preinduction training for the students who would be entering the military service and to provide training for the war industries.
    These new expectations resulted in the shelving of other curriculum development activities until after the war was over.
  • Period: to

    The Cold War

    After Wold War II, the advances in science and technology increased at an enormous rate. These advances were described in a series of stages---the first, the atomic age, then the age of automation, then the space age, and the computer age. These changes occurred at a very rapid pace and there was a growing concern that America was not producing enough scientists and engineers to meet this need.
  • National Science Foundation

    The National Science Foundation (NSF), took the leadership in addressing the problem of manpower shortages in science and engineering, and the concern that high school science courses were inadequate in light of the rapid changes in science and technology, that many science teachers needed more training in science and improved methods of teaching, and that the textbooks being used were outmoded, and needed to be changed.
  • Science Teacher Education

    in 1953, the first two "NSF Summer Institutes" were held at the University of Colorado for college mathematics, and at the University of Minnesota for college physics and a companion group of high school physics teachers. Deeming the institute a success, NSF moved into the Institute business and sponsored 11 in 1954, and 27 in 1955 (two of these were year long institutes for high school mathematics and science teachers).
  • New Curriculum

    In 1956 NSF funded a group of physicists at the MIT under the direction of Professor Jerrold R. Zacharias. Known as the Physical Science Study Committee (PSSC), they outlined in 1956-57 the ideas for a new high school physics course, and in the summer of 1957 assembled 60 physicists, teachers, apparatus designers, writers, artists and other specialists to produce a pilot version of the PSSC Physics course (text, teacher's guide, lab manual, equipment, and books)
  • Period: to

    The Golden Age of Science Education

    Golden AgeCongress enacted the National Defense Education Act, and Later the National Science Foundation was authorized to support activities to strengthen the teaching of science and mathematics in schools and colleges.
    During these 15 years, more than $100 million was expended by the federal government on what was called "course content improvement projects".
  • Launch of Sputnik

    Launch of Sputnik
    The announcement that the Soviet Union had produced and launched the first artificial satellite aroused public fear that the United States had fallen behind Russia in collective knowledge and skills.
  • ACT test first administered

  • Elementary and SEcondary Education Act

    funds primary and secondary education, while explicitly forbidding the establishment of a national curriculum.
    emphasizes equal access to education and establishes high standards and accountability.
    required standardized testing in public schools.
  • 1970s: one year or less of science to graduate

    In the 1970s, most high schools required one year or less of science to graduate, even though a core sequence of biology, chemistry, and physics had been established. Almost all students completed Biology, but less than half went on to Chemistry.
  • AAAS Project (American ASsociation for the Advancement of Science

    AAAS Project (American ASsociation for the Advancement of Science
    In the late 1980s and early 1990s, several frameworks for curriculum significantly influenced state and local reform of school science programs. Those frameworks include the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 1989 report Science for All Americans.
  • Science Curriculum Reform

    By early 1990s, more than 300 reports admonished those within the educational system to reform science education. Depending on the group publishing the report, the recommendations for education programs emphasized issues, such as updated scientific and technologic knowledge, application of contemporary learning theory and teaching strategies, improved approaches to achieve equity, and better preparation of citizens for the workplace.
  • Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy

  • Massachusetts Education Reform Act

    A result of a court case, it was declared that the state of Massachusetts had failed to fulfill their obligation to adequately educate all children. The Massachusetts Education Reform Act was passed with three major goals. The first was to increase state spending on education. The second was to create a set of curriculum frameworks that set high standards for student learning. The third was to create a fair assessment for student performance based on the curriculum.
  • The National Science Education Standards

    The National Science Education Standards
    The National Science Education Standards present a vision of a scientifically literate populace. They outline what students need to know, understand, and be able to do to be scientifically literate at different grade levels.
  • Standards Published

    Standards Published
    •Standards for science teaching (Chapter 3).
    •Standards for professional development for teachers of science (Chapter 4).
    •Standards for assessment in science education .
    •Standards for science content .
    •Standards for science education programs
    •Standards for science education systems
  • No Child Left Behind Act

    No Child Left Behind Act
    The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is approved by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush. The law requires all schools recieving federal runding to administer annual high-stakes testing to all students, holds schools accountable for student achievement levels, and provides penalties for schools that do not make adequate yearly progress toward meeting the goals of NCLB. The act also requires the state to provide highly qualified teachers and to set high standards.
  • American Competitiveness Initiative

    American Competitiveness Initiative
    Announced in President George W. Bush's State of the Union Address in 2006 and signed into law in 2007, the ACI was a program targetted toward increasing America's competitiveness in the world by increasing federal funding toward research and development and education in the sciences. The educational goal was to increase academic achievement, and ultimately increase America's capabilities in math and science fields.
  • America COMPETES Act

    America COMPETES Act replaced ACI
  • Every Student Counts Act

    A bill was introduced in April to improve the graduation rates of American high school students. It would require all schools to use the same formula for calculating graduation rates and set a graduation rate goal of 90%.