The construct of science achievement - what K-12 students should know and be able to do in science - is central to science education reform. This paper analyzes current conceptions of science achievement in major reform documents, and considers equity implications for science achievement and assessment in the context of standards-based and systemic reform. The paper reviews documents on science content standards (NSES and Project 2061), performance standards (New Standards), and large-scale assessment frameworks (1996 NAEP and TIMSS). Although the documents emphasize equity as the key principle, they present the assimilationist perspective by defining science and science achievement in terms of the Western science tradition with little consideration of alternative views of science and ways of knowing from diverse backgrounds. Based on the conception of equity in terms of social justice, the paper proposes the cultural anthropological perspective to develop a more inclusive and broader view of science achievement and assessment for diverse students.
ASJC Scopus subject areas