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The Landscape of High School Science Curriculum Decision Making


In 2000, NSF awarded BSCS a Curriculum Implementation and Dissemination Center grant to facilitate the dissemination and implementation of high school science curricula developed with Foundation funding. ... BSCS asked Inverness Research Associates to undertake a complementary line of work to help it and the field better understand the support that is available for secondary science education and the context within which high school science curricular decisions are made. In 2000 we at Inverness Research administered our first national landscape survey on high school science curricular decision making. It paralleled similar surveys that we had administered for NSF Curriculum Dissemination Projects in elementary and secondary math. Between 2000 and 2005, No Child Left Behind was instituted; funding and staffing challenges deepened, and calls increased for improved high school science programs. Therefore, BSCS asked for and was granted a supplementary grant in 2005 that included provision for replication of the 2000 study.

This report focuses on results from the 2005 survey of a national stratified random sample of school and district leaders. Selected findings from the 2000 study are included to permit a discussion of changes and continuities over the five years. The report is organized around five broad areas of inquiry related to curricular decision making.

  1. The current status of high school science curricula

  2. Selection and adoption of high school instructional materials

  3. Factors that shape curriculum decision making, including the criteria local science leaders use in selecting curricula

  4. Level of satisfaction of local high school science leaders with their science programs

  5. Interest in changing instructional materials, and mechanisms for change.