The goal of the North Carolina Standard Course of Study(NCSCS) for Science is to achieve scientific literacy. The National Science Education Standards define scientific literacy as "the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for scientific decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity." (p. 22)
The tenets of scientific literacy include the ability to:
- Find or determine answers to questions derived from everyday experiences.
- Describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena.
- Understand articles about science.
- Engage in non-technical conversation about the validity of conclusions.
- Identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions.
- Pose explanations based on evidence derived from one's own work.
North Carolina students can achieve scientific literacy through an instructional program based on the science component of the Standard Course of Study for Science. The SCS is designed to merge unifying concepts of science, strands, content goals, and objectives.
These unifying concepts are:
- Systems, Order and Organization
- Evidence, Models, and Explanation
- Constancy, Change, and Measurement
- Evolution and Equilibrium
- Form and Function
The strands include:
- Nature of Science
- Science as Inquiry
- Science and Technology
- Science in Social and Personal Perspectives
The K-8 Science program includes goals and objectives from Life, Physical, and Earth Sciences each year. The High School Program is based on discipline specific courses including Biology, Chemistry, Earth/Environmental Science, Physical Science and Physics. Advanced courses including AP® and IB courses are encouraged.
Inquiry-based science is the art of putting students in the role of scientists. It is a well-researched technique that eases classroom management, levels the playing field among advantaged and disadvantaged students , and offers ample opportunity for authentic writing and mathematics. Where programs like TASC are in place throughout the U.S., they markedly improve language arts EOGs along with science and narrow achievement gaps.
For more information about the TASC partnership, visit their website at http://tasc.pratt.duke.edu.