Untapped Potential: The Status of Middle School Science Education in California

By Ardice Hartry, Rena Dorph, Patrick M. Shields, Juliet Tiffany-Morales, Valeria Romero

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Description

California’s middle schools have the potential to give students the kind of science instruction consistent with the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education. However, major challenges limit opportunities for science learning, leaving that potential unfulfilled.

Although middle schools are providing the classes, teachers, and equipment for science learning, there is little access to quality learning opportunities. Elementary school students often lack access to science instruction and arrive at middle school underprepared and uninterested.

Other challenges to high quality science learning include:

  • The erosion of systemic support for science learning
  • Overcrowded classrooms
  • Insufficient resources
  • Inadequate teacher background or preparation

This report follows High Hopes – Few Opportunities, focusing on science education in California’s elementary schools. Both reports were produced by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd.

Visit the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd for more information about the Center and its publications.

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