Many States Receive ‘D’ or ‘F’ in Review of Science Standards

A new review offers a “bleak picture” of the state of state science standards across the nation, with just over half earning a grade of D or F.

Only California and the District of Columbia were given a solid A, while four states were handed an A-minus, according to the review by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

The Fordham report, issued last week, focuses on two main areas: “content and rigor,” and “clarity and specificity.” It argues, for instance, that many states’ standards are “so vague as to be meaningless.” The review also contends that state standards often undermine the teaching of evolution.

The review is the third Fordham has produced on science standards; the last came in 2005.

“The results of this rigorous analysis paint a fresh—but still bleak—picture,” wrote institute President Chester E. Finn Jr., a former education official in the Reagan administration, and senior director Kathleen Porter-Magee, in a foreword to the report. “A majority of the states’ standards remain mediocre to awful. In fact, the average grade across all states is—once again—a thoroughly undistinguished C.” (Read more.)

Via Erik W. Robelen, Education Week.

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NSF Seeks More Participation From Community College Faculty

​A meeting this summer between officials from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and community college leaders illustrates how important the federal agency views two-year colleges in preparing students for careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

In June, NSF and the American Association of Community Colleges(AACC) convened the Broadening Impact: NSF Funded Projects at Two-Year Colleges Conference, which marked the first time NSF officials from all of the agency’s divisions and directorates held wide-ranging dialogues with several hundred community college educators who represented a variety of disciplines, technician preparation and transfer programs.

A recent conference report​ summarizes small-group discussions about the challenges community college educators encounter when preparing NSF grant proposals, as well as community college educators’ suggestions for areas where NSF could broaden its support.

NSF has long recognized community colleges as both the nation’s leading source of technician education and as the higher education institutions where many engineers, scientists, teachers and other STEM professionals begin their postsecondary learning. <Read more.>

Via Madeline Patton, Community College Times.

Posted in Faculty, Funding, Postsecondary (13-18). Tags: . Comments Off on NSF Seeks More Participation From Community College Faculty

NSF aims to make grant process easier for two-year colleges

To broaden its impact among two-year colleges, the National Science Foundation (NSF) asked community college educators to explain the challenges they face when applying for grants and suggest emerging issues the NSF should consider funding.

“Frankly, I don’t think we’ve heard enough from you in the past and we want to have more dialogue,” Barbara Olds told about 300 community college educators attending a meeting the NSF convened this month in partnership with theAmerican Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

“We welcome your input” about the grants application process, said Olds, acting deputy assistant director and senior advisor for the NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources.

“We know just how important the community college experience is for what happens in all areas, and particularly science, technology, engineering, and math,” said NSF Deputy Director Cora Marrett. She also asked community college educators to share their insights on the revision of two merit review criteria by sending comments to her online by July 14.

Read more>>

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Community Colleges: Playing an Important Role in the Education of Science, Engineering, and Health Graduates

Over academic years (AY) 2001 to 2007,[2] the percentage of science, engineering, and health (SEH) graduates who had ever attended community college at some point in their studies remained fairly steady, at around 50% for bachelor’s degree recipients and just under 45% for master’s degree recipients. In addition, the percentage of SEH graduates who earned an associate’s degree also remained steady during this time, at 28% for both bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients.[3]Community college attendance was driven largely by a desire to earn credits toward a bachelor’s degree, followed by financial reasons and then by a desire to gain further skills or knowledge in an academic or occupational field. The trends and other findings presented in this InfoBrief are from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) 2008 National Survey of Recent College Graduates (NSRCG) (AY 2006 and 2007) and the earlier 2006 NSRCG (AY 2003, 2004, and 2005) and 2003 NSRCG (AY 2001 and 2002).

Click here to read more or download the report.

Posted in Community College (13-14). Tags: , , . Comments Off on Community Colleges: Playing an Important Role in the Education of Science, Engineering, and Health Graduates

Have Your Students Enter the Google Science Fair

Help your classrooms explore authentic, real-world problems and issues throught he Google Science Fair.

The Google Science Fair is the world’s first global online science competition  dedicated to students ages 13-18. This is a collaborative effort between Google, CERN, the LEGO group, National Geographic, and Scientific American to celebrate the brightest young minds of today, as well as to encourage students to immerse themselves into the world of science.

Here’s how your students can enter:

  1. Go to and sign up, as either individuals or teams of up to three.
  2. We’ll email their parent(s) or guardian(s), who must consent in order for them to enter.
  3. All entrants should review the contest rules and FAQs.
  4. Then they’ll create their projects (our online resources can help) and submit them online by April 4th, 2011. Simple as that!

For more information go to