About Project 2061

Comet Halley

Project 2061 began its work in 1985-the year Halley's Comet was last visible from earth. Children starting school now will see the return of the Comet in 2061-a reminder that today's education will shape the quality of their lives as they come of age in the 21st century amid profound scientific and technological change.

Project 2061 is a long-term initiative of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to help all Americans become literate in science, mathematics, and technology. To achieve that goal, Project 2061 conducts research and develops tools and services that educators, researchers, and policymakers can use to make critical and lasting improvements in the nation’s education system.

The Project’s areas of expertise include:

Learning Goals and Curriculum. Through its Science for All Americans, Benchmarks for Science Literacy and the two-volume Atlas of Science Literacy, Project 2061 provides a coherent set of K-12 learning goals that can serve as a foundation for state and national standards. With funding from NSF, NOAA, NASA, and the U.S. Department of Education, Project 2061’s research and development efforts are helping to foster a new generation of more effective curriculum materials—in print and online—for science teaching and learning. Project 2061 also consults widely with curriculum researchers and developers.

Assessment. Project 2061 has developed an online bank of high-quality test items and related assessment resources for use in middle and early high school science (http//assessment.aaas.org). Each item is rigorously screened for alignment to national standards and is suitable for use with a diverse range of students, including English language learners. As part of this NSF-funded effort, the items have been field tested with national samples of students to gauge their knowledge of important science ideas and to identify commonly held misconceptions. Project 2061 participates in a number of national assessment efforts and consults on a wide range of assessment research and development initiatives.

Teacher Development. Improving student achievement in science and mathematics requires well-prepared teachers who have a solid grounding in the content they teach and an understanding of how diverse students can be helped to learn. Project 2061’s publications are widely used in teacher education courses, and its research studies continue to shed light on how textbooks, teaching practices, and professional development can best be coordinated to improve student learning. Project 2061 offers several professional development workshops each year to introduce educators to the conceptual strand maps in Atlas of Science Literacy and to the Project 2061 approach to science assessment.