2061 Connections
An electronic newsletter for the science education community

January/February 2009

How National Standards Can Improve K-8 Science
Project 2061 article focuses on science curriculum materials

The  Elementary School Journal

The Elementary
School Journal

Do national science standards still matter in the era of No Child Left Behind (NCLB)? While NCLB has brought increased emphasis on state science standards and assessments, a new Project 2061 article argues that national standards and benchmarks not only matter but are essential to the long-term improvement of U.S. science education and to the students it serves.

In “Using National Standards to Improve K–8 Science Curriculum Materials,” published in The Elementary School Journal’s special issue on Science Curriculum (Fortus, 2008), Jo Ellen Roseman and Mary Koppal make a case for national guidelines and identify key functions performed by Benchmarks for Science Literacy (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1993) and the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996). Roseman and Koppal explain how national reform efforts

  • Provide a vision of what science education could be and build consensus for that vision;
  • Model what high-quality standards should look like; and
  • Guide the development of a new generation of curriculum materials and assessments that can help all students achieve those standards.

After describing these critical functions, Roseman and Koppal discuss the quality of current state standards and then focus on the unique role that national standards can play in shaping a new generation of science curriculum materials designed to give all K–8 students a solid foundation for future science learning.

Read the Roseman & Koppal article. [PDF, 1,232KB]

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For more information, please contact:

Director: Dr. Jo Ellen Roseman, (202) 326-6752
Communications Director: Mary Koppal, (202) 326-6643


American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1993). Benchmarks for science literacy. New York: Oxford University Press.

Fortus, D. (Ed.) (2008). Science curriculum [Special issue]. The Elementary School Journal, 109(2).

National Research Council. (1996). National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Roseman, J. E., & Koppal, M. (2008). Using national standards to improve K–8 science curriculum materials. The Elementary School Journal, 109(2), 104–122.


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