Technology, demographics and global economic forces are combining in unprecedented ways to change work and redefine the American workplace. Unlike jobs a half-century ago, most positions-those with meaningful career pathways and family-supporting wages-require individuals with strong academic skills, particularly in mathematics, science and technology.
Despite decades of educational reform in our nation's schools, and some slow, steady improvements in students' academic performance, current statistics indicate that not every student is being adequately prepared for their future:
To address issues of high school math, science and technology achievement, numerous efforts are underway at local, State, and federal levels. Among State and local efforts:
Education Week's Quality Counts 2002 reports that every State and the District of Columbia has established standards in core subjects, including math and science. Forty-two (42) States have criterion-referenced assessments aligned to State standards in math, and twenty-four (24) have such assessments in science.
The Education Commission of the States identifies policies that many States are adopting to increase math and science course-taking and graduation requirements.
National data indicate that many schools are offering Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and dual enrollment as strategies to promote higher-level course-taking, including math and science.
Among federal efforts:
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires States to create their own standards for what a child should know and be able to do for all grades. Standards must be developed for math and reading immediately, and for science by the 2005-06 school year.
The No Child Left Behind Act also establishes the Mathematics and Science Partnerships, which provides competitive 3-year grants to partnerships for activities to improve the math and science achievement of students, and the Access to High Standards Act, which supports State and local efforts to raise academic standards through AP programs, including those in math and science.
TIMSS Online. From the National Center for Education Statistics, this website presents the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Along with reports and analysis at each grade level tested (fourth, eighth and twelfth), the website includes a resource kit to help individual states and districts compare themselves to TIMSS countries; an analysis of mathematics teaching styles in the U.S., Germany and Japan; specific TIMSS test items; and additional TIMSS publications.
Research and Evaluation
Add It Up: Mathematics Education in the U.S. Does Not Compute PDF (596K). Addresses the poor performance of U.S. students on international mathematics tests; the lack of a coherent, focused, mathematics curriculum; and the shortage of teachers with math degrees teaching elementary and high school math (schools with a high percentage of poor and minority students have even greater numbers of out-of-field math teachers). Also includes recommendations for improvement.
A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform. U.S. Department of Education, 1983. "This report: (1) investigates the declining state of the educational system in America, as measured by high school student performance in the United States and other countries; (2) identifies specific problem areas; and (3) offers multiple recommendations for improvement. Schools, colleges, and universities are encouraged to adopt more rigorous and measurable standards and higher expectations for academic performance and student conduct." Recommendations are also made regarding teacher preparation and improving educational leadership.
Before It's Too Late: A Report to the Nation. National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century, 2000. In light of American students' low achievement in math and science when compared to students in other countries, the Commission recommends a thorough restructuring of current methods for recruiting and training math and science teachers, and the development of new classroom techniques.
Improving Mathematics Education Using Results from NAEP and TIMSS PDF (462K). Council of Chief State School Officers, 1999. The authors highlight some of the findings from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the Third International Mathematics and Science Study, and "pinpoint some of the educational practices and policies that appear to improve student performance."
TIMSS Online. National Center for Education Statistics, ongoing. This website presents the results of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study. Along with reports and analysis at each grade level tested (fourth, eighth and twelfth), the website includes a resource kit to help individual states and districts compare themselves to TIMSS countries; an analysis of mathematics teaching styles in the U.S., Germany and Japan; specific TIMSS test items; and additional TIMSS publications.
Adding It Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics. National Academy Press, 2001. Report on how mathematics education in the U.S. must change if children are to learn the skills they need in an increasingly technological society.
Creating a Safe, Supportive Math Classroom. Math Goodies, 2001. Discussion and examples of how teachers can allay children's fears about tackling math problems by teaching them strategies for persevering in the face of difficulty, and removing the stigma from failure.
Designing Mathematics or Science Curriculum Programs: A Guide for Using Mathematics and Science Education Standards. National Academy Press, 1999. This guide "has been developed to help state- and district-level education leaders create coherent, multi-year curriculum programs that provide students with opportunities to learn both mathematics and science in a connected and cumulative way throughout their schooling."
E-Math: A Guide to E-Mail Based Volunteer Programs. U.S. Department of Education, 1998. Email programs provide opportunities for adult volunteers to serve as resources to students because they reduce the time and geographical constraints facing mentors. This guide describes some of the existing volunteer programs.
Every Child Mathematically Proficient. Learning First Alliance, 1998. Action paper with steps teachers, administrators and parents can take to ensure that every healthy child masters core mathematical concepts by grade nine, in preparation for higher level mathematics courses.
Family Math Challenge. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, ongoing. Website that features problems, solutions, tips and resources for parents to help their children with math concepts.
FREE. Teaching and learning resources, including resources on math, from more than 35 federal agencies.
Gateway to Educational Materials. Educational materials, including those for math, from hundreds of organizations.
Illuminations: Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, ongoing. Website with resources for math teachers on using NCTM principles and standards in the classroom. Includes online "math investigations," web resources, internet-based lesson plans, and an interactive version of the NCTM math standards.
Integrated Curriculum: A Driving Force in 21st-Century Mathematics Education. Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education, 2001. "Teachers from across the country share their experience using integrated mathematics curricula that engage students in meaningful real-world problem solving."
Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards for math education through grade 12, based on learning mathematical concepts with understanding.
Research and Evaluation
Before It's Too Late: A Report to the Nation. National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century, 2000. In light of American students' low abilities in math and science when compared to students in other countries, the Commission recommends a thorough restructuring of current methods for recruiting and training math and science teachers, and the development of new classroom techniques.
Getting the Most from Technology in Schools. Researchers found that students learn best when technology acquisition is part of larger system reforms and goals are clearly defined, when they learn with technology instead of from technology, when technology use is one part of a coordinated curriculum, and when teachers are well-trained in its use.
Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-2001. Data on Internet access in U.S. public schools from 1994 to 2001 by school characteristics. Includes trend analysis on the progress of public schools and classrooms in connecting to the Internet and on the ratio of students to instructional computers with Internet access. For the year 2001, also reports data on the types of Internet connections used and student access to the Internet outside of regular school hours.
Key Building Blocks for Student Achievement in the 21st Century. CEO Forum on Education and Technology, 2001. In its year four report on the use of educational technology in the United States, the CEO Forum assessed the impact of technology on student achievement. The group found that while technology can improve student achievement, it works best if fully integrated into the curriculum and tied to clear, measurable objectives. The report includes recommendations to improve the technological skills of American students.
Meeting the Need for Scientists, Engineers, and an Educated Citizenry in a Technological Society. Educational Testing Services Policy Information Center, 2002. Discusses the general need for a highly educated citizenry in an increasingly technological society, shows that not enough young people are choosing to study science- and math-related fields, shows that minority youth in particular are under-represented in those fields, and suggests six areas of concentration for recruiting more minority youth into math and science study. The six areas are: (1) starting early; (2) better teaching; (3) raising minority achievement at the top; (4) identifying sources of low achievement; (5) assistance; and (6) persistence.
Teachers' Tools for the 21st Century. National Center for Education Statistics, 2000. "This report uses multiple data sources to describe teachers' use of education technology in their classrooms and schools. It examines the availability of this technology in their classrooms and schools, their training and preparation for using it, and the barriers to technology use they encounter."
Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age. American Association of University Women, 2000. Based on a research review, an online teacher survey, and focus groups with girls, the AAUW concludes that girls' underrepresentation in technology fields results from a failure to relate computers to girls interests and learning styles. The commission recommends a more inclusive computer culture to bring more girls into technology careers.
Technology in the Schools: It DOES Make a Difference! Education World, 1999. This article discusses research that supports the use of technology in classrooms to improve student learning.
All Star Network: Aeronautics Learning Laboratory for Science, Technology and Research. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), ongoing. Website that lays out the history and principles of, as well as potential careers in, aeronautics. Breaks down the presentation by grade level, and includes study pieces and review exercises. Targeted toward students.
Balancing the Equation: Where are Women & Girls in Science, Engineering & Technology? National Council for Research on Women, 2001. Discussion of some of the barriers that prevent women and girls from participating fully in science and technology education and careers, and methods for bringing down those barriers.
Beyond Technology: Making a Difference in Student Performance. Electronic School, 2000. Strategies to fully integrate technology into the classroom, change the process of teaching and learning, and improve student outcomes.
Classroom Assessment and the National Science Education Standards. National Academy Press, 2001. Designed to accompany the National Science Education Standards, this book focuses on how teachers can craft assessments for individual classrooms that accurately gauge student understanding.
Connecting Curriculum and Technology. International Society for Technology in Education, 1999. Publication showing how to integrate the National Technology Standards into classroom learning, with specific curriculum examples and strategies. Find this resource on the International Society for Technology in Education site.
Education Leadership Toolkit. National School Boards Association, 1998. The "Education Leadership Toolkit: Change and Technology in America's Schools" is a website designed to put the latest research, case studies, tools and approaches for successful education technology integration at the fingertips of school board members."
Good Models of Teaching with Technology. Knowledge Loom, Ongoing. Website featuring exemplary practices, classroom strategies and expert discussion on teaching with technology.
Integrating Science Education and Career and Technical Education. National Dissemination Center for Career and Technical Education, 2000. Explores how students can achieve more in science with a curriculum that emphasizes real-world applications.
Performance Assessment Links in Science (PALS). SRI International, ongoing. This is an online database correlating classroom tasks with the national education standards in science. The tasks are broken down by standard and by grade level.
Science Resources for Parents. National Science Teachers Association, 1999. Tips from the NSTA on how to foster scientific thinking from a young age.
Scope, Sequence and Coordination: A Framework for High School Science Education. National Science Teachers Association, ongoing. This website provides an overview and details of the NSTA's project to develop curriculum and assessment materials based on the National Science Standards. The site includes a detailed explanation of the content standards and the micro-units developed for different grade levels to achieve those standards.
TechKnow: Teaching with Technology. Public Broadcasting System, ongoing. This PBS webpage has activities for beginning, intermediate and advanced technology users to incorporate the internet into classroom teaching.
Technology in the Classroom: 10 Tips. Educational Testing Service, 2000. 10 tips on how to fully integrate technology into the classroom to improve teaching and learning.
Technology Integration Vignettes. International Society for Technology in Education, 1998. Three vignettes trace the experiences of Melissa (6th grade), Eduardo (7th grade), and Lakeisha (8th grade) as they encounter a newly-integrated curriculum that makes extensive use of computer learning programs, word-processing and database software, and Internet search and communication techniques. They are intended to help teachers visualize how subject-area technology integration could work, and include ideas and resources for specific subject areas. The resources are in Learning and Leading with Technology, February, March and April 1998. You can order this resource on the International Society for Technology in Education site.
Education Resource Organizations Directory (EROD). A list of organizationsl that provide resources for math instruction.
Eisenhower National Clearinghouse. Curriculum and professional development resources for math and science teachers.
Educational Realms, former ERIC Clearinghouse on Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education. Resources for teaching and learning about science, mathematics, and the environment.
National Assessment of Educational Progress. The Nation's Report Card, NCES. Student achievement trends in eight subject areas.
Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) focuses on Internet-based lessons. Includes various science projects and information about science programs and activities in schools.
International Society for Technology in Education. Professional organization dedicated to promoting the use of technology to enhance teaching, learning and administration in K-12 education.
National Science Foundation Education Programs and Grants. The National Science Foundation supports programs that integrate science, mathematics, and engineering research and education. The website has information on NSF's initiatives, publications from funded research efforts, and grant and funding information.
NSTA's High School Science Webpage. News, journal articles and resources for high school science teachers from the National Science Teachers Association.
Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education. Website dedicated to exploring ways in which the Internet can benefit teacher education programs around the world.