A Comparison of
Benchmarks for Science Literacy and
Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics
Gerald Kulm

Detailed Comparison Format

Readers will notice that mathematical elements in Benchmarks are not confined to the chapters labeled mathematics -- that is, to Chapter 2: The Nature of Mathematics and Chapter 9: The Mathematical World. References are also made to benchmarks in other chapters, in particular Chapter 1: The Nature of Science, Chapter 11: Common Themes, and Chapter 12: Habits of Mind. Finally, a few mathematically related benchmarks appear in Chapter 4: The Physical Setting and Chapter 8: The Designed World. In Chapters 4 and 8, the benchmarks present applications of mathematics, rather than statements about what mathematics should be learned.

Each statement under a Benchmark is followed by standards that relate to it. Some standards relate to two or more different benchmarks, thereby appearing multiple times in the comparison. (In the comparison organized by standards, the opposite effect occurs.) There are many benchmarks that are not directly related to mathematics. In this document, only those benchmarks which are judged to have mathematically-related content have been included.

Benchmarks often integrates the meaning and understanding of ideas, connecting them with applications in familiar contexts. Also, Benchmarks provides more concrete examples of how a student's number sense and facility with computations should be demonstrated. Often, standards are more general than the benchmarks they relate to, offering a broad perspective on the benchmarks.

Benchmarks is organized by topic and by four grade level groupings within each topic, K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Standards is organized in three grade level groupings, K-4, 5-8, and 9-12, and by topic areas within each grade grouping. In order to make the comparison most accessible to science educators, the comparison uses the organizational scheme of Benchmarks. Since the grade levels overlap, standards for K-4 are included under K-2 benchmarks; standards for grade levels K-4 and 3-5 are included under the grade 3-5 benchmarks; and standards for grades 5-8 are included under grades 6-8 benchmarks. In some cases, even higher grade level standards are included under a benchmark, since benchmarks are focused on what students should know at the end of secondary school whereas standards tend to aim at what students should study at particular grade levels. This approach to organizing the comparison sometimes results in taking individual standards out of context and making them vulnerable to misinterpretation. The reader is encouraged to refer to the full Standards document in order to obtain the most accurate and comprehensive interpretation of benchmarks that relate to a particular standard.

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