- In goals and objectives, both the science and mathematics standards
advocate a significant shift away from the elitist "filter" model
of science for future scientists to a literacy model of science and mathematics
for all. Both expect more students to learn more significant science and
- In regard to content, both the science and mathematics standards argue
that "less is more:" less memorization, less mechanics, less mimicry,
but more understanding, more thinking, more depth.
- In regard to teaching, both the science and mathematics standards advocate
an active, constructivist model: more group work, more student talk, more
exploration; less rote
learning, less passivity, less deference to teacher (or textbook) authority.
- In regard to assessment, both the science and mathematics standards
urge greater reliance on performance-based instruments that are aligned
with the curriculum and embedded in instruction. Assessment should aid the
educational process, not merely judge it.
- In regard to technology, both the science and mathematics standards
advocate full use of technology both as a means and as a goal of instruction.
- In regard to higher education, both the mathematics and science communities
have undertaken significant efforts to improve undergraduate education,
including better preparation of teachers of science and mathematics.
- In regard to implementation, both in K-12 and higher education, science
and mathematics reform need the full and active support of administrators
and policy makers since many of the changes recommended by the standards
require structural change or redistribution of resources.
The gist of this analysis is quite simple: Intellectually, the two communities
agree on virtually all comparable aspects of their respective standards.
But the nature of the communities, their positions on the trajectory of
reform, and their roles in the schools, are very different. Thus even though
there is strong consonance in the standards themselves--at both school and
college levels--the specific work that must be done to support the standards
movement is not necessarily the same in the two communities.
- Mathematics is the language of science. To succeed in science, students
must use mathematics. Thus high quality science depends on high quality
- In the schools, mathematics connects to social studies, art, and reading
almost as much as to science. "Mathematics and science" is only
one of the logical pairings that make sense to teachers of mathematics.
- Philosophically, mathematics is not a part of science. Mathematics studies
patterns, science studies nature.
- Mathematics is a single discipline with an organized curriculum from
grade school through graduate school. Neither "science" nor any
one of the sciences (e.g., physics) has this characteristic.
- Mathematics occupies well over half of the time and effort devoted to
mathematics and science in the schools, K-12.
- Well-prepared teachers of mathematics in high school and college are
able to teach virtually any mathematics course offered in the curriculum.
This versatility (across biology, chemistry, physics) is very rare in science.
- The mathematics standards were developed by, are owned by, and are vigorously
promoted by the major professional organization representing teachers of
- Mathematics has several umbrella organizations (JPBM, CBMS) that enable
the community to work together and speak with one voice concerning reform
of mathematics education.