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Scope, Sequence, and Coordination (SS&C) of Secondary School Science

Addressing the National Science Education Teaching Standards

  • Planning of inquiry based science program
  • Guidance and facilitation of student learning
  • Assessment of teaching and learning
  • Developing physical environments that promote student learning
  • Creating learning communities
  • Planning and developing school programs

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is developing, implementing, and evaluating this SS&C program for grades 9-12. SS&C is the first curriculum and reform effort to prepare high school students to achieve the vision of the national science education standards. Fifteen high schools of diverse populations and resources are participating, in addition to control classes that utilize traditional science curricula.

Project materials and teaching methods adhere to the ten SS&C tenets, which are to:

  1. stimulate learning in biology, chemistry, earth and space science, and physics
  2. build on students' prior knowledge and experience
  3. provide a sequence of content and the learning of that content
  4. provide experience with science phenomena
  5. revisit concepts, principles, and theories at successively higher levels of understanding
  6. coordinate the four science subjects
  7. connect science to other subject areas
  8. utilize the motivation that students feel when they experience a sudden and profound understanding of science
  9. emphasize a greater depth of understanding of fewer fundamental topics
  10. create assessment methods and instruments to measure skills, knowledge, understanding, and attitudes.

The selection process of curricula and learning materials for each grade level is based on the High School Framework for National Science Education Standards, created by science teachers, science education faculty, and professional scientists. The Framework identifies fundamental science concepts, empirical laws, theories, and models; it is revised each year based on the experience and feedback of teachers implementing the SS&C tenets in their classroom. Using the Framework, the project creates a matrix of learning experiences that are sequenced according to the SS&C tenets. Each learning experience focuses on a biology, chemistry, earth and space science, or physics content standard. The project then chooses and adapts curricula and materials that will provide the desired learning experience.

In its first year (1994-95), the project identified instructional materials for grade 9 and provided professional enhancement activities to all ninth-grade science teachers from the 15 participating schools. At two-week summer institutes led by project staff, more than 100 teachers learned to facilitate rather than direct student learning and to foster collaboration among students; they also participated in hands-on activities and experiments and formed networks for future support. Participants communicate via e-mail following the institutes. Actual classroom implementation of the grade 9 materials began during the 1995-96 academic year. That same year, the program began developing grade 10 materials and will implement them in 1996-97. The two year development and implementation cycle will begin in 1996 for grade 11 and 1997 for grade 12.

Materials consist of micro-units that contain a teacher materials section and a student materials section. The teacher section covers the content students need to learn, the objectives of the micro-unit and includes related assessment items. The student section provides readings and outlines hands-on, open-ended activities and investigations that often have applications in personal and social contexts. The 75 micro-units for grade 9 have been developed; reviewed; tested by focus groups of scientists, science teachers and faculty; and used by teachers whose feedback aided the revision. They currently are available. Micro-units for grades 10, 11, and 12 in 1997, 1998, and 1999, respectively.

SS&C is being evaluated by the University of Minnesota using questionnaires and interviews; the first official findings will be released in 1996. The project has found student, parent, and teacher response to be positive. To order project materials, contact NSTA at 800-722-NSTA. (Project Director: Erma Anderson)


Erma Anderson Program Manager National Science Teachers Association 1840 Wilson Boulevard Arlington, VA 22201 Phone 703-312-9256 Fax 703-552-1698 Internet: erma@aol.com



Project information provided by Toby Levine Communications, Inc., as it appears in the Annenberg/CPB Math and Science Project's The Guide to Math & Science Reform, Fall 1996 edition. For a complete listing and discussion of the over 950 reform initiatives and 230 organizational profiles listed in The Guide to Math & Science Reform, click here. For information on how to order The Guide, click here.

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