Date of Completion
Open Access Capstone
Master of Arts (MA)
This paper explores the current state of science instruction in classrooms, particularly concerning the fragmented curriculum resulting from high-stakes testing and the subsequent side-lining of science education. The study examines the historical context, starting with the implementation of standardized tests such as MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) in 1998 and the subsequent impact of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. These reforms led to a punitive system for underachieving schools and a narrowing of instructional time for subjects other than math and English Language Arts (ELA). The focus on improving test scores resulted in limited time allocated for science instruction, with studies indicating that, on average, only 20 minutes per day is dedicated to science and social studies. The paper argues for a shift towards an integrated curriculum that nurtures the whole child and proposes integrating science and social studies content into ELA programs. By aligning units and themes, teachers can create opportunities for cross-disciplinary learning that enriches the ELA curriculum while supporting science education. The paper provides various models and examples to guide the implementation of curriculum integration, emphasizing the importance of hands-on science experiences and their contribution to reading skills and comprehension.
Flaherty, Emily L., "Exploring the Path That Has Led to a Fragmented Curriculum, Driven by High Stakes Testing, Sidelining Science" (2023). Critical and Creative Thinking Capstones Collection. 408.