Date: July 12, 2010
Contacts: Sara Frueh, Media Relations Officer
Christopher White, Media Relations Assistant
Office of News and Public Information
202-334-2138; e-mail <>


WASHINGTON — The National Research Council today released a draft framework that proposes the science content and concepts students should learn for grades K-12.  The independent, nonprofit Research Council is seeking comment on the draft from the science and education communities and the public.  The final framework will serve as the basis for new science education standards, to replace those based on documents developed over 10 years ago.

"In the past decade, the community has learned important lessons from implementing the existing science education standards, and there is a new and growing body of research on learning and teaching in science that can inform the development of new ones," said Helen Quinn, chair of the 18-member committee that drafted the framework, and professor emerita of physics at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford, Calif.  "This draft framework will be revised based on input we receive, and a final framework, to be issued early next year, is intended to provide guidance to improve and update science education standards across the nation.  We welcome feedback from those in the science and science education communities, who can help us ensure that the framework is of the highest quality and meets the needs of teachers and students."

The framework describes in broad terms the core ideas in science and engineering that students should understand and be able to apply, and the progression of ideas that students need to experience in order to comprehend them.  The nonprofit education group Achieve, working with a group of state leaders, will use the final framework to develop new K-12 science education standards, which explain what students should learn in detail.  The framework is also intended to be useful to others who work in science education -- curriculum designers and assessment developers, state and district science administrators, and teacher educators.

The comment period will run from July 12 through Aug. 2.  During this time, the National Research Council will partner with the National Science Teachers Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Achieve, and the Council of State Science Supervisors to solicit feedback through meetings and focus groups.  Individuals also can read the draft online and submit comments at

After the comment period ends, the study committee will consider the submitted comments and make appropriate revisions to the framework.  And as with all Research Council reports, the framework will undergo a rigorous, internal review process before its release, which is expected to be in early 2011.

The framework project is sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies.  They are independent, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under an 1863 congressional charter. 
Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).  

[ This news release and report are available at ]

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Board on Science Education 

Committee on Conceptual Framework for New Science Education Standards
Helen R. Quinn (chair)1
Professor of Physics
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Menlo Park, Calif.

Wyatt W. Anderson1
Alumni Foundation Distinguished Professor
Department of Genetics
University of Georgia

Tanya M. Atwater1
Professor Emeritus
Department of Earth Science
University of California
Santa Barbara

Philip Bell
Associate Professor
Learning in Informal and Formal Environments Center
University of Washington

Thomas B. Corcoran
Consortium for Policy Research and Education
Teachers College
Columbia University
New York City

Rodolfo Dirzo1
Bing Professor in Ecology
Department of Biology
Stanford University
Stanford, Calif.

Phillip A. Griffiths1
Professor of Mathematics
Institute for Advanced Study
Princeton, N.J.

Dudley R. Herschbach1
Emeritus Professor
Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass.

Linda P.B. Katehi2
University of California

John C. Mather1
Senior Project Scientist
James Webb Space Telescope
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Md.

Brett D. Moulding
Utah Partnership for Effective Science Teaching and Learning
North Ogden

Jonathan Osborne
Shriram Family Professor of Science Education
Graduate School of Education
Stanford University
Stanford, Calif.

James W. Pellegrino
Distinguished Professor and
Learning Sciences Research Institute
University of Illinois at Chicago

Stephen L. Pruitt
(resigned June 2010)
Chief of Staff
Office of the State Superintendent of
Georgia Department of Education

Brian Reiser
School of Education and Social Policy
Northwestern University
Evanston, Ill.

Rebecca R. Richards-Kortum 2
Stanley C. Moore Professor
Department of Bioengineering
Rice University

Walter G. Secada
Senior Associate Dean
School of Education
University of Miami

Deborah C. Smith
Assistant Professor
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Pennsylvania State University
University Park

Heidi Schweingruber
Study Co-Director

Thomas Keller
Study Co-Director

1 Member, National Academy of Sciences
2 Member, National Academy of Engineering