ERIC Number: ED454099
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Apr-28
Reference Count: N/A
Science Educator's Views on the Goal of Scientific Literacy for All: An Interpretive Review of the Literature.
Kemp, Andrew C.
Many educators promote the goal of "scientific literacy for all" as the central organizing theme of their discipline. On the other hand, some critics of the goal are now becoming more vocal. One issue in particular concerns the charge that scientific literacy is a "vague, ill-defined" concept. Different meanings or interpretations for the goal could have significant impacts on its implementation and achievement. This interpretive synthesis of the literature on the concept of scientific literacy considers how science educators have historically defined and described scientific literacy, and ascertains whether or not fundamental differences in meanings and interpretations are really present. Among these findings are the elements comprising the concept of scientific literacy have nearly doubled since the term's introduction in 1952. The elements most commonly associated with scientific literacy include conceptual knowledge of the sciences, and the relationships between science and society, and science and technology. No two publications list exactly the same elements for scientific literacy, but there have been no new elements added to the accrued list since the introduction of the first national policy document for the goal in 1989. However, the reform documents that purport to define the term give it a definition that is many dozens of pages in length. It is suggested that shorter, more understandable definitions for the term might be useful. Alternatively, 'scientific literacy' has also taken on status as a slogan, and as such it may actually be beneficial not to define it too closely. (Contains 71 references and 9 figures.) (Author/YDS)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC.; Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL.
Authoring Institution: N/A