Concerns about the state of science education are not limited to the UK. Today, Stuart Schneiderman cites a DOE study on science education in America. He cites Forbes writer Maureen Henderson, who comments on the study:
For example, 75% of high school seniors could successfully use test strips to test water samples for the levels of four pollutants, record the data and interpret whether the results exceeded EPA standards, but only 25% of students were able to design and conduct an investigation using a simulated calorimeter and related patterns in temperature changes in two different metals to determine which metal has the higher specific heat capacity. Results were the same at the lower grade levels, where only 24% and 35% of eighth and fourth graders respectively were able to handle the more difficult experiments. Students also had difficulty in explaining how they arrived at a correct conclusion, with only 27% of twelfth graders able to both select a correct answer and explain why they did so in one section of the test. And in another section, only 11% were able to make a final recommendation that was supported by the data they had worked with in the experiment.
Note that a lot of the test questions, and I’m sure a lot of the topics covered in school “science” courses, have to do with environmental matters.
Basically, it seems that in the American government schools, as in their British equivalents, all subjects whatsoever tend to get converted into “social studies.”