Academies Active in Education

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Science  29 Aug 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5893, pp. 1133
DOI: 10.1126/science.1160303

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Sustainable socioeconomic and cultural development requires nations with a citizenry that understands science, shares its values, and uses scientific critical thinking. This can best be attained through science education that is based on inquiry, an approach that reproduces in the classroom the learning process of scientists: formulating questions, doing experiments, collecting and comparing data, reaching conclusions, and extrapolating these findings to more general situations. The Program for International Student Assessment, an international organization of industrialized nations, measures the extent to which 15-year-olds can identify scientific issues, explain phenomena scientifically, and use scientific evidence to draw conclusions. The results, made public earlier this year (http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pisa), reveal that all developing countries and many industrial ones, including the United States, are failing to prepare their children adequately for life in the modern world. Leading scientists of each nation, acting through their national science academies, are working together to change this state of affairs.