Your grade for science: N/A

Report: Science instruction disappearing in elementary school, but not science grades /

The Kansas State Board of Education heard a report Tuesday that as many as one in five elementary teachers in Kansas and surrounding states are reporting science grades on student report cards, despite the fact that they don’t spend any time teaching the subject or testing pupils’ knowledge in it.

George Griffith, superintendent of the Trego school district in western Kansas and a member of a Kansas committee helping craft new national science standards, said he conducted a survey of more than 900 elementary teachers in Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska. The survey was conducted as part of Griffith’s doctoral dissertation.

Griffith said teachers responding to the survey said they reported grades in science because there was a spot on the grade card for it. But the teachers felt so pressured to increase performance in the high-stakes reading and math tests that they have cut back or eliminated class time for science.

It’s not just Kansas. This is sad.

When teaching to the test means focusing on reading and math, EVERYTHING else suffers. Students deserve a well rounded education. Emphasis on math and reading is important but why can’t that be incorporated into science classes (that require reading and math). The country’s future will suffer because we think performing well standardized test assessments are more important than teaching and thinking.

Board members seem more concerned that grades were reported when the subject was not taught. I think I have a little sympathy for teachers here who might be trying but run out of in-school time. But in Kansas, if science has been marginalized and discarded, through their ridiculous history of removing mention of evolution from the curriculum, why is this finding a surprise?

  2 comments for “Your grade for science: N/A

  1. One Eyed Jack
    November 14, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    I have many teachers in my family. I know what passes for standard elementary education and this statistic doesn’t surprise me in the least.

    My ex-mother-in-law taught 3rd grade. She commented to me once that she rarely taught science to her classes because it intimidated her. 3rd grade science intimidated her.

    On multiple occasions I’ve gone to local schools to talk about science. Elementary kids are CRAZY curious about science. They ask non-stop questions. Such a waste of opportunity.

  2. LovleAnjel
    November 16, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    No Child Left Behind requires that all children master their grade level reading and writing skills by 2014. That’s right, in two years every child in America has to be able to read & do math to the national standards. No exceptions. It’s an impossible goal.

    I advise science education students and sadly I’ve been told that teachers aren’t even talking about dinosaurs in class anymore.

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