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The pubic is bombarded with news reports saying that young people in the U.S. aren’t learning enough about science, especially compared to kids in Asia.
I’m not sure that’s true, because I work at a large university where I see very able American students starting to excel in their scientific careers, and I hear back from them as they flourish in later years.
But perhaps we really are falling behind. After all, everyone says so.
How would we start to investigate that possibility?
It’s tough to imagine a single science exam that we could give to kids in places as varied as China, Germany, South Korea and the U.S. Apart from the problems of translation and grading, there’s no reason for the schools in those places to cooperate with such a test.
So it’s impossible to directly measure student achievement around the world.
Perhaps we better just focus on kids in the U.S. and think about what their science education is like, especially in the crucial grades of high school. What are the meat and potatoes in science classes we are delivering to most of our young people?
One fairly easy way to discover what is being taught to American kids about science is to ask their teachers.
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