Revolutionizing Earth System Science Education for the 21st Century: Report and Recommendations from a 50-State Analysis of Earth Science Education

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artist's concept of Cassini during the Saturn Orbit Insertion (SOI) maneuver

ERN Item Type: 

  • Education Reports




The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) commissioned TERC to complete a review of science education standards for all 50 states. The study analyzed K-12 Earth science standards to determine how well each state addresses key Earth-science content, concepts and skills. This report reveals that few states have thoroughly integrated climate, weather and oceans studies into their curriculum. Earth science integrates oceanography, meteorology, geology, biology, chemistry, physics and other disciplines to understand Earth's processes as an integrated system. In addition to practical applications in a variety of fields, Earth science also addresses environmental challenges such as climate change, hurricanes, and ocean issues. The study examined how state standards support integrating materials such as remotely sensed imaging, satellite photography, and data visualization tools into classroom education. Unfortunately, this study shows that Earth system science education in the U.S. is in need of significant improvement. The report shows a great variation in the states' Earth science education standards. This report is a call to action showing a pressing need for systematic reform.

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