A Tool for Analyzing Science Standards and Curricula for 21st Century Science Education

A Tool for Analyzing Science Standards and Curricula for 21st Century Science Education

Danielle E. Dani (Ohio University, USA), Sara Salloum (Long Island University, USA), Rola Khishfe (American University of Beirut, Lebanon) and Saouma BouJaoude (Saouma BouJaoudeAmerican University of Beirut, Lebanon)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2809-0.ch014


Twentieth century curricula are no longer sufficient to prepare students for life and work in today’s diverse, fast-paced, technologically driven, and media saturated world of the 21st century. This chapter presents a new framework for analyzing science standards and curricula to determine the extent of alignment with 21st Century essential understandings and skills. The Tool for Analyzing Science Standards and Curricula (TASSC) was developed using the conceptual frameworks proposed by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, and the typology of knowledge proposed by Jurgen Habermas. Development of TASSC relied on an iterative process of refinement, testing, and discussions resulting in an instrument with three sections and related rating scales: content, skills, and additional curricular components. TASSC was piloted using middle school science standards and curricula in the context of two US states (Ohio and New York) and two Arab countries (Lebanon and Qatar). The analysis procedure and individual case study results are presented and discussed in the chapter.
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Conceptual Basis

The essential understandings and skills necessary for a college and career ready populace have been posited by several organizations. For example, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) proposed the Framework for 21st Century Learning. Similarly, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD1) proposed a set of competencies needed for a successful life and well-functioning 21st Century society. BouJaoude (2010) additionally used Habermas’ types of knowledge (1971; as cited by Cranton, 2002) as he developed FAEP. These conceptual frameworks are described in this section.

Framework for 21st Century Learning

The partnership for 21st century skills (2009) developed a framework for 21st century learning delineating a set of learning outcomes that specify the knowledge, skills, expertise, and literacies needed for success in work and life. In addition to the core subjects of science, the framework identifies a set of 21st century interdisciplinary themes that, when integrated into core subjects, will result in much higher levels of learning. The themes consist of global awareness, financial, economic, business, and entrepreneurial literacy, civic literacy, health literacy, and environmental literacy.

The framework divides the necessary skills into three types, (a) learning and innovation, (b) information, media, and technology literacies, and (c) life and career skills. Learning and Innovation skills include the four C’s: creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, communication, and collaboration. Life and career skills include flexibility and adaptability, initiative and self-direction, social and cross-cultural skills, productivity and accountability, and leadership and responsibility. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills further defines these outcomes in their P21 Framework Definitions (2009).

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