State of State Science Standards 2012

Last
month, Fordham released the State of State Science Standards
2012
. The first
State of State Science Standards report was released in 1998; it was revisited
in 2005 (and again this year). While the national average remained the same in
2012 as it did in 2005 (a dismal C), some states changed grades drastically. Kansas
moved from an F to a B, and Colorado, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, and
West Virginia dropped from Bs to Ds.

The
study’s methodology worked like this: experts in different scientific fields
evaluated all 50 states’ and the District of Columbia’s science standards. The
grading falls into two parts. The first score is on a scale from 0-7 that
analyzes the “content and rigor” of each state’s science standards; the second
score is on a scale from 0-3 that analyzes the “clarity and specificity” of
each state’s standards. These two grades are combined to give the state an
overall number grade (up to 10) and then converted into a letter grade (A
through F). California and D.C. tied for first place, both with 10 out of 10
points and an A. In last place is Wisconsin with 0 out of 10 and an F.

Ohio
came in 13th in the nation with an overall grade of B. While that is better
than the majority of other states, it’s nothing to brag about. As report
co-author Lawrence Lerner said, “When it comes to academic standards… even a
‘B’ ought not be deemed satisfactory. In a properly organized education system,
standards drive everything else. If they are only ‘pretty good,’ then ‘pretty
good’ is the best the system is apt to produce by way of student learning. No
state should be satisfied with such a result. Hence, no state should be
satisfied with less than world-class standards in a core academic subject such
as science.”

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