Science for All: Including Each Student

October 1, 2000

A major theme in the National Science Education Standards is that science is for all students, and that all students should have the opportunity to attain high levels of scientific literacy. The purpose of this appendix is to elaborate on this theme and to offer teachers some practical suggestions for engaging a diverse student body in high-quality science education, specifically girls, minorities, or students with disabilities, who traditionally receive unequal attention in the science classroom.

We focus upon students with disabilities for two reasons. First, the move toward inclusion -educating students with disabilities in general education classrooms rather than in segregated settings-is increasingly the norm rather than the exception. Second, when we think about how to address students' disability- related needs, we often come up with approaches and curricula that help all students succeed in science.

The focus on "all" represents a significant change in our expectations about science education and ideas about who can do science. It used to be that only a small percentage of students -usually boys, usually white, usually nondisabled-was expected to be interested and to do well in science. Now it is clear that the demands of a technological society require every person to be a capable science thinker and informed decision maker. This is why "all" means each and every student: students with disabilities as well as nondisabled students, girls as well as boys, students of color as well as white students, students from low-income families as well as from high-income families.

To ensure that each student learns science, special attention must be paid to those groups who have traditionally been underrepresented in science. This appendix offers suggestions and strategies for paying closer attention to underrepresented groups as well as references to resources and other aids that are available in print and on the Web.

Contributors to this appendix are as follows: Louisa Anderson and Eric Jolly, Education Development Center; Nathan Bell and Yolanda George, American Assocation for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC; Patricia Campbell, Campbell-Kibler Associates, Groton, Massachusetts; Sami Kahn, Rutgers University, Rutgers, New Jersey; and Harilyn Rousso, Disabilities Unlimited, New York, NY.