Indicators of the Status of Geoscience Education

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Geoscience education is at an important juncture. New curricular standards, current events, and workforce trends are all adding to the established rationales for geoscience awareness, generating an imperative for geoscience education that is stronger than ever. To respond to this imperative, geoscience educators need information on which to base plans for individual and collective action. Over the past several years the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) has been collecting data for a series of reports that support informed discourse in geoscience education. These reports focus on workforce issues, secondary education, and most recently indicators related to geoscience education at the K-5 level. Taken together, these reports provide important information about the entry points for action. For example, the data in the reports raise questions about the degree to which geoscience is included in initial teacher preparation at the K-5 level, or how well students’ geoscience knowledge is monitored—both of which are likely to affect the degree to which young students are encouraged to pursue any interests in geoscience into secondary education. The data AGI has collected at the secondary level provide insights regarding trends in the willingness of institutions of higher education to accept geoscience courses taken in high school for admission. The capacity of geoscience departments at colleges and universities to address upcoming workforce demands is also an important area for the community to consider. These and other data and implications will be presented for discussion at this session. It is hoped that those attending the session will provide input into areas for which more data are needed as well as sources for collecting additional data. This sort of robust information will be critical as geoscience educators address the opportunities and challenges they face as a community going forward.

  • Ed Robeck*
  • Geological Society of America Annual Meeting 2015