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CHAPTER ONEIntroductionThere was a time in history when the United States of America was onthe forefront of scientific discoveries the USA was the first and stillthe only country to put a man on the moon the first in flight and thefirst that mass produced the automobile How quickly the nation hasforgotten those advancements and the gap between the US populationand rest of the world has closed dramatically when it comes toscientific literacy Clough 2010 p1 According to a study publishedin 2011 by the International Association for the Evaluation ofEducational Achievement the United States placed thirteenth in aranking of thirty industrialized nations in application of mathematicsand science in a real world setting Clough 2010 quoted a survey doneby the California Academy of Science that surmised that only twenty-onepercent of American adults knew that dinosaurs existed before humanshow long the earth took to orbit the sun and could approximate how muchof the surface the planet is covered by water This is a far cry fromthe position of scientific prowess that the nation was in just seventyyears ago One hypothesis explaining the deficit in scientific knowledge is thatthe days are gone when a United States classroom was filled withscientific discovery curiosity and observation The current state ofeducation according to McKenzie 2010 is in an era whereaccountability and high stakes testing is the norm and where districtsuperintendents and school administrators are more attentive in theirdevotion to student test scores and the consequences these have fordistrict and school performance labels than real learning occurringStandardized testing has become a necessary evil to evaluate not onlystudent achievement but also teacher effectiveness and the progressionof the entire academic programs of the school in question The tests aremeant to hold all involved accountable for the students progress Bober2004 wrote that accountability is meant to symbolize worth tostudents faculty administrators and the entire community Bober 2004also stated that there is more to instructional accountability thanattainment of standards standardized test scores and a schoolgraduation rate it
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