Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 13 Issue 02

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Volume 13, No. 2
Pages 32 - 39


Ocean Sciences Education for the 21st Century

By Sharon H. Walker , Paula Coble , and Frances Lee Larkin  
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Never before has the need for science literacy within our citizenry been more critical than it is today. New technologies, increased environmental stresses with global implications, precollege teacher shortages, and the need for additional students majoring in math, science, and engineering require responsible decision-making at all levels of government. Yet despite ongoing efforts at math and science reform, two landmark studies, A Nation At Risk (U.S. National Commission on Excellence, 1983) and Educating Americans for the 21st Century (U.S. National Science Board, 1983), followed more recently by reports from two equally powerful efforts—the National Science Foundation Survey Report (1988) and the Third International Math and Science Study [TIMSS] (National Science Teachers Association [NSTA] Reports, 1996)—have re-enforced our awareness of the lack of competitiveness exhibited by this country’s public schools and its students in math and science when compared to other countries. Major problem areas are inadequate K-12 science and math curricula, which are “a mile wide and an inch deep” (NSTA Reports, 1996), inadequate teacher preparation, and lack of continuing education opportunities for inservice teachers. Science education literature is replete with research over the last two decades that concludes science teaching and learning need to be improved nationally. And, the authors of this manuscript believe that as we enter this new millennium, there remains a pronounced disconnect between scientists’ research results and bridging the gap between the interpretations and relevance of those data to teachers, precollege students, and the general public. The disconnect and the subsequent need for enhanced ocean sciences education is clearly recognized by members of the oceanographic community, from scientists to classroom and informal education experts (Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education, 1996).


Walker, S.H., P. Coble, and F.L. Larkin. 2000. Ocean sciences education for the 21st century. Oceanography 13(2):32–39, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2000.31.

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