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Why do Florida’s K-12 students need new Science Standards?. Three Reasons:. Low student performance on state, national, and international achievement measures Persistent achievement gaps among demographic subgroups

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Why do Florida’s K-12 students need new Science Standards?

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three reasons
Three Reasons:
  • Low student performance on state, national, and international achievement measures
  • Persistent achievement gaps among demographic subgroups
  • Lack of preparation of graduating seniors for post-secondary education and the workforce
‘05 NAEP data reveal that while our 4th grade students barely surpassed the national average, our 8th grade students lagged behind.

Despite a steady across the board increase in the percentage of Florida’s students scoring at or above proficient on the Science FCAT each year, all cohorts remain well below 50% proficiency.


While the percentage of Florida’s students taking AP science exams in ’06 was nearly double the national average, the percent of our students who scored at or above proficient barely exceeded the national average.


While Florida’s 4th graders scored above the national average on the ‘05 Science NAEP, significant demographic achievement gaps are evident here as well.


Florida’s 8th graders generally performed below the national average on the 2005 NAEP, although our Hispanic students fared better than the national average for Hispanics.

florida s agency for workforce innovation labor market statistics project
Florida’s Agency for Workforce Innovation, labor market statistics project:
  • 78% of Florida’s fastest growing occupations will require post-secondary certification by 2014, most of which will require vocational certification.
  • By 2030, 87% of job demand in Florida will require post secondary certification, with over a fourth requiring a Masters-level or higher.

A study conducted by the Monitor group for the National Governors Association (NGA) revealed that the fastest growing occupational clusters in Florida are:

  • Financial Services (requiring strong math & communication skills)
  • Analytical Instruments (requiring strong engineering & math skills)
  • Communications Services (requiring strong technical skills)

A survey of 276 leading employers from these clusters throughout the state revealed gaps in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skill sets of entry-level employees.

Scale: 5 (far exceeds) 3 (meets) 1 (far below)

Florida Employer Opinion Survey by Florida Dept. of Education Accountability, Research, and Measurement (2006)


In terms of college readiness, ACT results show that Florida’s graduating seniors trail the nation in science achievement, and the gap is widening.


% of students achieving the 24 point benchmark for college readiness on the ’06 & ’07 science reasoning portion of the ACT was low in all subgroups.

what do independent research groups say about florida s current sunshine state science standards
What do independent research groups say about Florida’s current Sunshine State Science Standards?

In their 2005 The State of State Science Standards Report, the Fordham Institute awarded an “F” grade to Florida’s Science Standards. Massachusetts got an “A”.

Gross, et al, (2005)

some of fordham s reasons
Some of Fordham’s reasons:
  • “The current documents are … sorely lacking in content…”
  • “…handling of physics…is disappointing, due to a prevalence of errors in fact and presentation…”
  • “…chemistry content in K-8 is scanty...even less is required in K-12”
  • “… in grade 4 the student uses criteria to understand and analyze the impact of scientific discoveries....the criteria to be used, however…are unnamed.”
two findings from the 2006 national research council report rising above the gathering storm
Two findings from the 2006 National Research Council report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm:
  • Americans may not know enough about science and technology to contribute to the emerging knowledge-based economy.
  • Rise in new international competitors in science and engineering is forcing the US to ask whether our current education system can meet the demands of the 21st century.

NRC, 2006 Rising Above the Gathering Storm, pp 94-95

The US lags behind other leading industrialized nations in producing college graduates with first degrees in science and engineering.
according to achieve inc world class science instruction empowers students to
According to Achieve Inc., world-class science instruction empowers students to:
  • maximize employment opportunities in a global economy driven by science and technology;
  • participate in a democracy in the context of a global society; and
  • make informed decisions as a consumer, e.g., on health care and retirement planning.

World-class science standards reflect the conceptions of coherence, focus, and rigor promoted by the American Diploma Project (ADP) and the TIMSS framework.

  • Coherence – Is the sequence of topics and performances consistent with the logical nature of the disciplinary content of the subject matter? (Schmidt, et al., 2005 p. 528)
  • Focus- Do the standards emphasize central concepts, laws, principles and unifying theories, inquiry strategies and cross-cutting ideas, such as systems, that link the natural sciences? (Slattery, 2007)
  • Rigor - Do the standards progress in terms of depth (cognitive complexity) as students move from one grade level to the next? (Schmidt, et al., 2005)
how do florida s current k 8 standards compare with world class models
How do Florida’s current K-8 standards compare with world-class models

1The 2009 NAEP science framework encompasses grades 1-8

2Singapore begins science instruction at grade 3 and

continues for a total of six years through lower secondary.

3Finland’s science standards encompass grades 1-9

data from the trends in international math and science study timss shows that
Data from the Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) shows that:
  • “…the number of topics intended for coverage in the US is (visually) overwhelming, when compared to the composite curriculum in the top-achieving countries.” (mile-wide/inch-deep)
  • In the US the structure of standards documents is “diffuse and seemingly arbitrary,” when compared to the TIMSS A+ countries

Schmidt, Wang, McKnight (2005) Curriculum Coherence: an examination of US mathematics and science content standards from an international perspective. Journal of Curriculum Studies. pp 551-556

Comparisons of composite curriculum maps from five A+ TIMSS countries and those of 21 U.S. states including Florida, illustrate the relative lack of coherence in US state science standards.

General Topic Trace Mapping (GTTM) of the A+ TIMSS countries vs. US

A+ countries

21 U.S.states including Florida

(Schmidt et al. 2005)


General Topic Trace Mapping (GTTM) of the A+ TIMSS countries vs. US (cont.)

A+ countries

21 U.S.states including Florida

(Schmidt et al. 2005)

What do these curriculum mappings reveal about K-8 science topic coverage in Florida and the US as compared to the TIMSS A+ countries?
  • The A+ countries tend to introduce few new topics in each grade level and then develop those incrementally in each subsequent grade (staggered spiral).
  • Florida and other states often front-load complex topics like types of forces and weather & climate in early elementary grades, and then devote sparse – if any – coverage to them in subsequent grades.

What recommendations do national, international, and state science education experts have for revising K-12 science standards?


According to findings from cognitive

research, standards should:

  • …focus on foundational, cross-cutting concepts and K-12 learning progressions, cycling back through core ideas in different contexts, and…
  • … allow time to address misconceptions and for students to reflect on and monitor their understanding.

Source: Duschle et,al., (2007) Taking Science to School. National Resource Council


Recommendations fromAchieve, Inc. and the American Diploma Project (ADP) include:

  • Decide on big, over-arching ideas such as matter, energy, and systems and describe their most important characteristics.
  • Begin with high school and identify essential core content for each area – Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, and Physics – and connect these to one or two of the most closely related big ideas.
  • Pay attention to the research base on where key concepts can be optimally taught and where common misconceptions can be effectively addressed.
    • (Jean Slattery Achieve Inc., The American Diploma Project. 2007)

ADP recommendations (cont.)

  • Verify that the standards are clearly written.
  • Build a K-8 matrix similar to the TIMSS General Topic Trace Mappings and check the progression of concepts and skills across grades to reveal redundancies or omissions for each benchmark in the new standards.
  • Check the content expectations for each grade level to make sure topics cluster in a sensible way that facilitates connections and promotes powerful, yet manageable teaching units.
  • (Jean Slattery Achieve Inc., The American Diploma Project. 2007)

In May of 2007, a committee of 33 framers

comprised of representatives from the

following stake-holder groups was convened:

  • K-12 science educators including Exceptional Student Education (ESE).
  • University scientists and faculty
  • Community College science faculty
  • Business leaders
  • Private citizens

At the May 2007meeting, the framers

received presentations from these national

and international experts in science education:

  • Jean Slattery [Achieve, Inc. American Diploma Project (ADP)]
  • Ted Willard [American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (project director for the Atlas of Science Literacy)]
  • Bill Schmidt National Coordinator for US TIMSS (author of Why Schools Matter)

What were the framers recommendations for the revisions to the Sunshine State Science Standards?

  • Refer to the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Science Curriculum Framework to begin building 9-12 Bodies of Knowledge (BOK) based upon science literacy expectations for all graduating seniors.
  • Construct grade level specific benchmarks for K-8 that support the 9-12 Bodies of Knowledge.
  • Refer to the General Topic Trace Mappings for the TIMSS A+ countries to analyze standards for coherence once they are completed.
framers recommendations cont
Framers recommendations (cont.)
  • Refer to the Massachusetts Science Curriculum Framework to see how illustrative examples can be included with each content statement to add clarity.
  • Refer to AAAS and National Research Council (NRC) literature to imbed Nature of Science (NOS) concepts within the standards as well as NRC materials on teaching evolution and the nature of science.
  • Construct a Nature of Science Body of Knowledge for 9-12 and embed these concepts in the K-12 benchmarks.
What world-class documents did the framers recommend that the writers review for Florida’s science standards revisions?
  • 2009 National Assessment of Educational

Progress (NAEP) Science Framework

  • American Association for the Advancement of

Science (AAAS) Benchmarks for Science Literacy

  • Singapore primary and lower secondary science standards
additional documents
Additional documents:
  • Finland’s National Core Science Curriculum
  • Massachusetts Science Curriculum


  • Indiana’s K-8 science standards
  • Teaching Evolution and the Nature of

Science (National Research Council)

content for the 2009 naep science framework was drawn from
Content for the 2009 NAEP Science Framework was drawn from:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES)
  • AAAS Benchmarks for Science Literacy
  • Trends in International Math and Science (TIMSS) framework
  • Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) framework
  • Exemplary state standards

Following the recommendations of the framers, the Office of Mathematics and Science assembled a 25 member committee of writers to draft the revised Sunshine State Science Standards.

the writers committee consists of
The writers committee consists of:
  • exemplary K-12 science teachers from across the state
  • exceptional Student Education teachers
  • Community College Science Professors
  • University scientists and professors of science education
  • representation from the liberal arts
  • representation from business
  • key members of the framers committee
the road ahead
The Road Ahead
  • A draft of the revised K-12 Sunshine State Science Standards has been submitted to OMS by the writing committee for review.
  • A public review of the draft science standards is planned to begin concurrent with the expert review process in October - November.
  • The revised Sunshine State Science Standards will be submitted to the State Board in January, 2008 for adoption.
Meet Kyla Horn,


girl, Senior at

Cocoa Beach

Jr./Sr. High


Florida Public


kyla s accomplishments
One of 77 students in the world (and the only Florida student) selected for the highly competitive Research Science Institute at MIT.

Awards and Accomplishments include: Science Fairs, Science Bowls, Science Olympiad, All Star High School Academic Team, Governor's Honor Program – Astrochemisty, Florida Junior Science, Engineering and Humanities Symposium, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Part of student team running ground control for payload project aboard Space Shuttle Columbia's final flight

PSAT: 240 (Perfect score)

ACT:  36 (Perfect Score)

SAT II Math: 800

A.P. Calculus B/C: 5

A.P. Physics: 5

A.P. Biology: 5

SAT Critical Reading: 800

SAT II Spanish: 800

A.P. English: 5

A.P. Economics: 5

A.P. U.S. History: 5

A.P. Government and Politics: 5

Kyla’s Accomplishments
florida s office of math and science
Florida’s Office of Math and Science
  • Mary Jane Tappen, Executive Director

  • Todd Clark, Deputy Director

  • Lance King, Secondary Science Specialist

  • Vie Vie Baird, Elementary Science Specialist

  • Rob Schoen, Math Specialist