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The terms and circumstances of human existence can be expected to change radically during the next human life span. Science, mathematics, and technology will be at the center of that change—causing it, shaping it, responding to it. Therefore, they will be essential to the education of today's children for tomorrow's world.

What should the substance and character of such education be?

The purpose of this report is to propose an answer to that question.

That was how Science for All Americans (SFAA), the first Project 2061 publication, identified itself. Now, four years later, those words serve equally well to introduce Benchmarks for Science Literacy, a companion report. SFAA answers the question of what constitutes adult science literacy, recommending what all students should know and be able to do in science, mathematics, and technology by the time they graduate from high school. Benchmarks specifies how students should progress toward science literacy, recommending what they should know and be able to do by the time they reach certain grade levels. Together, the two publications can help guide reform in science, mathematics, and technology education.

About Project 2061

Project 2061's benchmarks are statements of what all students should know or be able to do in science, mathematics, and technology by the end of grades 2, 5, 8, and 12. The grade demarcations suggest reasonable checkpoints for estimating student progress toward the science literacy goals outlined in SFAA. It is important to view the benchmarks in the context of the following Project 2061 premises concerning curriculum reform:

Characterizing Benchmarks

Benchmarks for Science Literacy is consistent with the above premises, but is sufficiently different in content, purpose, and style from other reform reports to require some clarification.

Using Benchmarks

Benchmarks was prepared as a tool to be used, along with SFAA, by everyone engaged in state or local efforts to transform learning in science, mathematics, and technology. The following suggestions for using Benchmarks came from Project 2061 team members, consultants, and staff, and from individuals who have seen prepublication draft versions of Benchmarks:

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