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Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 1 month ago

State Board of Education Science Standards



Introduction to This Page

The Science Standards are one of a number of policy documents created by the Board. The only definitive statement I have found about what these Standards are comes from a document on the KSDE website titled "A Guide to the Kansas Curricular Standards". This is, I assume a pamphlet that was composed to assist parents in understanding what the Strandards are. The only date on the document is April, 2006. You can view the document at this

location. The pertinent text is:

The State Board of Education has established rigorous academic standards for all students in the core subject areas of reading, mathematics, science, history/government and writing. The standards are general statements of what students should know and be able to do at various grade levels and are provided to schools as a guide in preparing classroom content.

      To ensure students are meeting the expectations established by the State Board, tests were developed from the curricular standards adopted by the State Board. All accredited schools in the state are required to administer the tests, which are known as state assessments. The questions included on the assessments represent the knowledge students are expected to have in each subject area, but may not include every item in the state standards. This document reflects the items chosen for inclusion on the state tests at the high school level.

Warning! It is easy to get lost on this website. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of files, pages and the organization leaves much to be desired. I recommend that you link to the following page: Science Standards as this is where the topic of evolution is discussed.

   Forgive me but I must digress here for a moment. I have been to the KSDE website many, many times. Considering that this site should reflect good organization, intellectual competence and a desire to help the citizens of Kansas to understand the full nature of our public educational system, it is almost a total flop! It breaks my heart to see how little care has been put into the website.

    One of the links you will find on this page is titled "Teaching & Learning Science". Click on this and view the documents provided there. My interpretation of these is that they are boilerplates found from a variety of sources that poorly dance around the page topic, providing no meat. I would be ashamed to present such triteness!


This page provides a link to the full science standards in MS Word or PDF format. The document is very large, I have yet to download it and I suspect that in its final form, you will have a difficult time finding the changes approved in 2005. This is also disheartening. Here is where the crux of the evolution issues lies and it is not available!

    There is another (disabled) link on this page titled "Side by Side Standards (Coming soon). When? After the primary?


As this page is new as of 6/23/06, I highly recommend that you click on the Introduction and read this document. I will read it tonight. Perhaps here we can get accurate information of what this science standard is all about.


Introduction to the Science Education Standards

On page 5 of this introduction is stated the purpose of the document. I have copied it as it presents the reason for its existance and its applicability.

Purpose of this Document These standards, benchmarks, indicators, and examples are designed to assist Kansas educators in selecting and developing local curricula, carrying out instruction, and assessing students' progress. They will also serve as the foundation for the development of state assessments in science. Finally, these standards, benchmarks, indicators, and examples represent high, yet reasonable, expectations for all students.

The Kansas Science Education Standards:

(1)Provide criteria Kansas educators and stakeholders can use to judge whether particular actions will serve the vision of a scientifically literate society.

(2) Bring coordination, consistency, and coherence to the improvement of science education.

(3)Advocate that science education must be developmentally appropriate and reflect a systemic, progressive approach throughout the elementary, middle, and high school years. (See Implementation, p. vii)

These standards should not be viewed as a state curriculum or instructional strategy. The content embodied in these standards can be organized and presented with many different emphases and perspectives in local district curricula.


Pertinent Excerpts from the Introduction

After reading this 13-page Introduction, I see nothing that should be an issue with evolutionists, creationists or those following in-between. Science has a legitimate interest in attempting to discover the origins of life and the universe. My opinion is without spirit, which comes from God, they will not be successful, but the investigation is well worthwhile. We have all benefited from scientific inquiries into these questions in our civilization, knowledge and technology.


Again, if you are concerned with the Standards, if you really want to know what is actually written and if you desire to find out if the many press articles ridiculing the work that has been completed and approved are valid; read this Introduction. Below, I have copied 3 sections that I feel are especially pertinent to the issues surrounding these standards.


Implementation of the Kansas Science Education Standards: Actions by Kansas school districts to implement the Kansas Science Education Standards (KSES) should include:1. Use the KSES as a framework for local curriculum, including Extended Standards for special needs students. The KSES provides a framework for building local curriculum. Local curriculum, developed from these standards, determines what is taught/learned in science.6. Develop local assessments that support the KSES and extend beyond learning the measured Kansas Science Assessments. Local curriculum also provides local districts with a guide for selecting instructional resources.

There are actually 12 points in the implementation, but the above clearly indicates that the local science curriculum is free to address subjects beyond the Standards.


Teaching With Tolerance and Respect Science studies natural phenomena by formulating explanations that can be tested against the natural world. Some scientific concepts and theories (e.g., blood transfusion, human sexuality, nervous system role in consciousness, cosmological and biological evolution, etc.) may differ from the teachings of a student’s religious community or their cultural beliefs. Compelling student belief is inconsistent with the goal of education. Nothing in science or in any other field of knowledge shall be taught dogmatically.

A teacher is an important role model for demonstrating respect, sensitivity, and civility. Science teachers should not ridicule, belittle or embarrass a student for expressing an alternative view or belief. In doing this, teachers display and demand tolerance and respect for the diverse ideas, skills, and experiences of all students.

Nature of Science (paragraph 2) Scientific explanations must meet certain criteria. Scientific explanations are consistent with experimental and/or observational data and testable by scientists through additional experimentation and/or observation. Scientific explanation must meet criteria that govern the repeatability of observations and experiments. The effect of these criteria is to insure that scientific explanations about the world are open to criticism and that they will be modified or abandoned in favor of new explanations if empirical evidence so warrants. Because all scientific explanations depend on observational and experimental confirmation, all scientific knowledge is, in principle, subject to change as new evidence becomes available. The core theories of science have been subjected to a wide variety of confirmations and have a high degree of reliability within the limits to which they have been tested. In areas where data or understanding is incomplete, new data may lead to changes in current theories or resolve current conflicts. In situations where information is still fragmentary, it is normal for scientific ideas to be incomplete, but this is also where the opportunity for making advances may be greatest. Science has flourished in different regions during different time periods, and in history, diverse cultures have contributed scientific knowledge and technological inventions. Changes in scientific knowledge usually occur as gradual modifications, but the scientific enterprise also experiences periods of rapid advancement. The daily work of science and technology results in incremental advances in understanding the world.


A Look at the Standards

The Word file containing the Standards is 1.2MB in size. This is a very large document. I may not get all, but this section attempts to capture all the references to evolution.The organization of the document appears to be in the following order, which I will try to follow:


   Standard Number

   Benchmark Number

   Applicable Grade(s)


The Indicators are bullets in a 2-columned table, on the left is the bullet and on the right Instructional Examples. Below each Standard/Benchmark/Grade table are Teacher Notes that relate to the Indicators. I am using the MS Word document copy and am including the page number of the reference last. If possible you should download the Standards and verify the accuracy of what follows to your satisfaction. My comments will be in blue. The words bolded in the text indicate the areas that I am commenting on. Let us begin!


  • Standard 3: Life Science, Benchmark 5, Grades 5-7, Page 43


Indicator: understands that adaptations of organisms (changes in structure, function, or behavior that accumulate over successive generations) contribute to biological diversity.

Instructional Examples: compares characteristics of birds such as beaks, wings, and feet, with how a bird behaves in its environment. Then works in a cooperative group to design different parts of an imaginary bird. Relates characteristics and behaviors of that bird with its structures.

Teacher Notes: Millions of species of animals, plants and microorganisms are alive today. Animals and plants vary in body plans and internal structures. The theory of biological evolution is an explanation of how gradual changes of characteristics of organisms over many generations may have resulted in variations among populations and species. Therefore, a structural characteristic, process, or behavior that helps an organism survive in its environment is called an adaptation. When the environment changes and the adaptive characteristics are insufficient, the species becomes extinct.

   As they investigate different types of organisms, teachers guide students toward thinking about similarities and differences. Students can compare similarities between organisms in different parts of the world, such as tigers in Asia and mountain lions in North America to explore the concept of common ancestry. Instruction needs to be designed to uncover and correct misconceptions about natural selection. Students tend to think of all individuals in a population responding to change quickly rather than over a long period of time. Using examples such as Darwin’s finches help develop understanding of natural selection over time. Providing students with fossil evidence and allowing them time to construct their own explanations is important in developing middle level students’ understanding of extinction as a natural process that has affected Earth’s species over time.

The bolded text may raise warning bells in the devout evolutionist but the statements certainly appear reasonable to me. I hope to investigate Darwin's Finches as I develop the website..


  • Standard 7: History and Nature of Science, Benchmark 1, Grades 5-7, Page 56


Indicator: practices intellectual honesty, demonstrates skepticism appropriately, displays open-mindedness to new ideas, and bases decisions on evidence.

Instructional Examples:(several, this is one) shares interpretations that differ from currently held explanations on topics such as global warming and dietary claims. Evaluates the validity of results and accuracy of stated conclusions.

Teacher Notes: Science requires varied abilities depending on the field of study, type of inquiry, and cultural context. The abilities characteristic of those engaged in scientific investigations include: reasoning, intellectual honesty, tolerance of ambiguity, appropriate skepticism, open-mindedness, and the ability to make logical conclusions based on current evidence.

Teaching a student to be open-minded yet skeptical until enough evidence is presented for acceptance should develop an inquiring approach to scientific hypotheses, theories and laws..


  • Standard 1: Science As Inquiry, Benchmark 1, Grades 8-12, Page 59


Indicator: understands methods used to test hypotheses about the cause of a remote past event (historical hypothesis) that cannot be confirmed by experiment and/or direct observation by formulating competing hypotheses and then collecting the kinds of data (evidence) that would support one and refute the other

Instructional Examples:(several, this is one) (a) Formulate multiple hypotheses about a singular historical event and develops a ”best current explanation” of what caused the event, such as the cause of a fire or death.(b) Predict the kinds of circumstantial evidence that one would observe under each hypothesis. (c) Collect evidence and draw an inference as to the best explanation and whether the evidence fits either hypothesis. Explains why either explanation cannot be entirely validated by a laboratory experiment.

Teacher Notes: Students actively involved in asking and answering their own questions, can connect the science they are learning in the classroom with real-world applications.


  • Standard 3: Life Science, Benchmark 3, Grades 8-12, Page 75

Stop here for now - this may be the major benchmark concerning evolution and is very long.span>.


Indicator: understands biological evolution, descent with modification, is a scientific explanation for the history of the diversification of organisms from common ancestors.

Instructional Examples:(several, this is one) (a) Formulate multiple hypotheses about a singular historical event and develops a ”best current explanation” of what caused the event, such as the cause of a fire or death.(b) Predict the kinds of circumstantial evidence that one would observe under each hypothesis. (c) Collect evidence and draw an inference as to the best explanation and whether the evidence fits either hypothesis. Explains why either explanation cannot be entirely validated by a laboratory experiment.

Teacher Notes: Students actively involved in asking and answering their own questions, can connect the science they are learning in the classroom with real-world applications.


Sorrells 6/23/06


law vs theory

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