The following comparison of the Project 2061 Benchmarks for Science Literacy and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics was commissioned by Project 2061. The intent is to indicate, for each NCTM standard, the benchmarks that are most nearly related to it. There is no claim that the benchmarks, singly or collectively, are equivalent to the NCTM Standards, are endorsed by the NCTM, or are otherwise justified by the claimed relatedness. We hope, however, that educators interested in mathematical literacy will find the comparison interesting and perhaps useful in thinking through their own learning goals.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy is an elaboration by grade levels of the recommendations for science literacy made in the earlier publication Science for All Americans. Readers should recognize that Project 2061 includes under the shorthand phrase of "science" not only natural science, but also social science, mathematics, and technology. (The alternative – of repeatedly reciting the whole list – seemed impractical.) As noted in SFAA Chapter 2: "The Nature of Mathematics," much of Chapter 1: "The Nature of Science" applies to mathematical as well as natural and social science. When we began in 1985, that breadth of scope seemed necessary, because the ideas and skills in all these subjects are so closely linked that developing goals for any one of them would require developing goals for the others at the same time.

From the time when the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics released Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics in 1989 (shortly after we released Science for All Americans), Project 2061 has endorsed all the principles expressed in Standards and subscribed to almost all of its learning goals. In elaborating SFAA into Benchmarks for Science Literacy, we believed that we were taking proper account of Standards, although usually expressing goals at a more specific level and occasionally having a less ambitious view of what was achievable by all students. Readers of this comparison can judge the congruencies and exceptions for themselves.

Gerald Kulm was recruited to make the comparison because of his long and respected career as a mathematics educator, his familiarity with the NCTM Standards, and his early familiarity with Project 2061 and its perspective on mathematics. Dr. Kulm’s recent work includes involvement with statewide systemic projects to improve mathematics and science education, planning and evaluation of projects to reform the preparation of mathematics and science teachers, and three books on the assessment of students' understanding of mathematics and science.

As with all Project 2061 publications, we count on feedback from users to improve our own understanding and to help us make revisions in future versions. Please direct comments on this comparison – and especially suggestions for detailed changes – to:

AAAS Project 2061
1333 H Street NW
Washington DC, 20005

(202) 842-5196

Subject: feedback