EDITORIAL

Failure of Skin-Deep Learning

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Science  07 Dec 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6112, pp. 1263
DOI: 10.1126/science.1233422

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Summary

There is a disconnect at the heart of the U.S. education system that is having a devastating effect on how and what children learn. Research shows that the most meaningful learning takes place when students are challenged to address an issue in depth, which can only be done for a relatively small number of topics in any school year.* But the traditional process of setting standards tends to promote a superficial “comprehensive coverage” of a field, whether it be biology or history, leaving little room for in-depth learning. The curricula and textbooks that result are skin-deep and severely flawed.