The Status of Science Education in Bay Area Elementary Schools

By Steve Schneider, Rena Dorph, David Goldstein, Shirley Lee, S. Venkatesan, Kathleen Lepori

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The San Francisco Bay Area is a center of scientific and technological innovation. It is thus surprising that recent test results indicate inadequate achievement in science among the region’s elementary school students.

This informative research brief, written by staff at WestEd’s Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) Program and the Center for Research, Evaluation, and Assessment at the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley, compiles the results of several studies that examined the academic performance of elementary school students in the Bay Area. It explores the reasons behind the students’ poor performance in science–from limited time allotted to science in classrooms and under-prepared teachers to lack of professional development opportunities for the teaching force–as well as ways policymakers, educators, and the larger community can help improve elementary science education.

More information is available at www.lawrencehallofscience.org/rea/bayareastudy.

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