In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Science Education

  • Introduction
  • General Overview
  • Textbooks for Science Educator Instruction
  • Science Educators and Pedagogical Content Knowledge
  • Assessment and International Comparisons
  • Science Education Journals and Resources
  • Key Science Education Organizations

Education Science Education
Jonathan M. Eckert
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 June 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 June 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0036


In this article, multiple facets of science education will be addressed. For several decades, especially since the launch of Sputnik, science education has been much discussed as an engine of innovation and a primary driver of economic success and national security. This attention has driven the discussion of science education and created urgency with regard to scientific literacy, or the habits of mind and processes germane to science and inquiry. Much has been written about the scientific literacy and inquiry that has driven instruction in K–12 schools, as well as the preparation of science educators and the development of their pedagogical content knowledge. This article includes books, articles, journals, and organizations that have influenced, and continue to influence, science instruction, learning, and assessment.

General Overview

For overviews of current thinking about K–12 science education, several reports are helpful. Bevilacqua, et al. 2001 provides an overview of the connection between the history and philosophy of science and science education. For research on how children learn science and relevant implications for science instruction in grades K–8, Duschl, et al. 2007 is an excellent synthesis. Moreover, Duschl 2000 explores the links among observation, data, fact, and theory as they relate to science education. Bell, et al. 2009 examines the role of out-of-school experiences. For high school science instruction, Singer, et al. 2005 analyzes the role of hands-on, engaged, laboratory experiences. Wilson and Bertenthal 2005 examines the large-scale assessment of K–12 science education. Tobin and Roth 2007 explores the history and philosophy of science education internationally, and Levinson 1993 examines the impact of multiple factors on how students learn science.

  • Bell, Philip, Bruce Lewenstein, Andrew W. Shouse, and Michael A. Feder, eds. 2009. Learning science in informal environments: People, places, and pursuits. Washington, DC: National Research Council.

    Informal science operates across a broad range of settings and impacts individuals, schools, families, and societies. This work explores science as it relates to these settings and institutions.

  • Bevilacqua, Fabio, Enrico Giannetto, and Michael R. Matthews. 2001. Science education and culture: The contribution of history and philosophy of science. Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-94-010-0730-6

    This anthology provides an overview of the contribution that the history and philosophy of science make to theoretical, curricular, and pedagogical issues in science education.

  • Duschl, Richard. 2000. Making the nature of science explicit. In Improving science education: The contribution of research. Edited by Robin Millar, John Leech, and Jonathan Osborne, 187–206. Philadelphia: Open Univ. Press.

    This chapter on the dialectic among data, observation, fact, and theory in science describes the need for demonstrating instruction.

  • Duschl, Richard A., Heidi A. Schweingruber, and Andrew W. Shouse. 2007. Taking science to school: Learning and teaching science in grades K–8. Washington, DC: National Research Council.

    This book draws on work ranging from neuroscience to classroom observation to provide an overview of what is known about how students in grades K–8 understand and learn science. In addition, recommendations are made on how science should be taught.

  • Levinson, Ralph, ed. 1993. Teaching Science. New York: Routledge.

    The articles collected in this book attempt to explain how children learn science. The central sections of the reader examine how this can be translated into effective teaching, how learning can be most accurately and fairly assessed, and how the impact of gender, ethnicity, and other factors on children’s performance can be addressed.

  • Singer, Susan, Margaret L. Hilton, and Heidi A. Schweingruber. 2005. America’s lab report: Investigations in high school science. Washington, DC: National Research Council.

    This work is a critical examination of the role of laboratory experiences in high school science curricula, their current impact, and their potential impact.

  • Tobin, Kenneth, and Wolff-Michael Roth. 2007. The culture of science education: Its history in person. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.

    This book provides an international overview of the history of science education through exploration of key figures in science education.

  • Wilson, Mark R., and Meryl W. Bertenthal. 2005. Systems for state science assessment. Washington, DC: National Research Council.

    This book provides a detailed analysis of K–12 science assessment with particular attention given to what should be measured and how it should be measured.

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