Mills to serve as primary reviewer for the next generation of U.S. science standards

Mar 22, 2012 | General News

Dr. David Mills, professor of biological sciences and faculty in the Center for Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Science at Louisiana Tech University, has been appointed as a ‘Primary Reviewer’ for the Next Generation U.S. Science Standards for Today’s Students and Tomorrow’s Workforce.
Mills will work with state and national leaders in a collaborative, state-led process as new K–12 science standards are developed to be rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades, and will provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education.  The first public draft will be released in April for public review.

Dr. David Mills

The National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve are the lead partners in the two-part process to develop the Next Generation Science Standards.
“This is a critical undertaking and I am greatly honored to assist in developing America’s Next Generation Science Standards,” said Mills.  “We have a great challenge ahead of us as the U.S. system of science and mathematics education is performing far below par.  If left unattended, it will leave millions of young Americans unprepared to succeed in a global economy.”
It has been 15 years since science standards have been comprehensively reviewed. The National Research Council’s National Science Education Standards and the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Benchmarks for Science Literacy, while critical to the field for the past 15 years, do not reflect the changes we have experienced in society or science, such as the availability of the internet, access to cell phones, and even the changes within science such as the emergence of biotechnology and changes of how we see our own solar system (for example, Pluto).
The U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in mathematics on the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).  Less than ten percent of U.S. students scored at one of the top two of six performance levels.
“This is a time for change and to set standards that increase America’s competitive edge, provides the essential preparation for all careers in a modern workforce and provides scientific and technological literacy for all students,” Mills said.
The United States is 12th in high school graduation rate among the 36 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries for which data is available.  Over one-third of eighth-graders scored below basic on the 2009 NAEP Science assessment and 78 percent of high school graduates do not meet the readiness benchmark levels for one or more entry level college courses in mathematics, science, reading and English.