The Game Changer… Raising National Science Test Scores

As I college instructor, mentor and supervisor  to new teachers in the Indianapolis Public Schools, and a mother to children who are taking the standardized assessments for science, I have some thoughts to share about the Science Standards or lack thereof.  Asking, “what do the different part of a cell do?” is not a game changer! There is no doubt that instructional time for science has decreased and the science content varies from state to state, but our students are NOT being exposed or making connections to what feels relevant and meaningful to them. Unless science is taught in a way that generates connectivity to what a student already knows or more importantly, there is a significant reason shared to learn the science content, our scores will falter or stay stagnant. 

For example, Dr. Joyce Hawkes has written articles and researched that dispositions, mental attitudes and communication through a few simple tools and skills invokes communication between our minds and our body’s cells! As a parent and educator, this is the science that takes the dry content out of a classroom lab, and invites inquiry, discussion and integrates it into our day to day lives!  Cells are translators of all kinds of information. They receive and send data. They modify their actions based on information constantly coming to them. As Dr. Hawkes, describes, “Each cell is multilingual and translates a variety of messages.”  Questions for students to ponder and research are:  “How?”   What is the role of DNA in this communication? If I chose to eat and drink this, while carrying these thoughts or feelings, how would these factors affect my cells? What is the role of stress on cellular composition?


When students are curious, intrigued, and encouraged to be the researchers inside a science classroom, learning take place at higher level cognitive functions with an emotional investment!  We become invested and excited about the possibilities as science research is changing at a pace that textbooks cannot touch! Many private and charter schools are beginning to embrace these states of mind and techniques for deepened learning and actionable classrooms, where learning is about evaluation, drawing analogies, synthesizing and asking the questions.


 Public schools are capable of creating the stimulating, inquiry and student led cultures for science as well.  We cannot afford to wait for the new national standards and even if we did, are we integrating the strong mind of all of our students into the process where learning feels relevant and meaningful? Science is a subject that invites curiosity, the written language and the thoughts of all students… if we are to be globally competitive, the game changer will need to be the implementation of “inquiry” and student led learning and personalizing the content. Our brains are wired for these possibilities, especially in the world of science.    



 In response to the Huffington Post’s article on recently reported national science assessments!

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