Science Education in Wisconsin

Science instruction in Wisconsin is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to experience the richness and excitement of the natural world. As adults they will face complex questions requiring scientific thinking, reasoning, and the ability to make informed decisions. Scientific knowledge prepares students for the future and helps them acquire the skills needed to hold meaningful and productive jobs. Wisconsin's Model Academic Standards for Science are Wisconsin's standards. The standards recognize that science is for ALL students--the essence of science literacy.

The Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE) is customized to measure Wisconsin 's Model Academic Standards for Science and is developed and designed by the Department of Public Instruction and Wisconsin educators in conjunction with CTB/McGraw-Hill. This standardized test is composed of some items specifically designed for Wisconsin and some commercially developed questions used in schools across the country. Students in grades 4, 8, and 10 take tests in science. The WKCE provides information about student attainment of subject-area proficiency to students, parents, and teachers, and information to support curriculum and instructional planning. The WKCE is designed to meet the requirements of NCLB accountability goals and Wisconsin Statutes.


Science Equivalency Resources and Links

Evolution Position Statement

In 1982 the department released a position statement on the teaching of evolution in the science classroom, and has since updated this statement.  A copy of that position statement, On the Nature of Science and the Teaching of Evolution, can be obtained by clicking here.  

Professional Associations

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are now final!  To locate the NGSS website click here. The NGSS are rigorous and college or career ready standards, and offer specific middle level and high school course pathways for teachers, schools, and districts. To learn about these appendices and more, click here.

Background on the Development Process:

Step One: Getting the Science Right, The National Research Council (NRC), the staff arm of the National Academy of Sciences, began by developing the Framework for K–12 Science Education. The Framework was a critical first step because it is grounded in the most current research on science and science learning and identified the science all K-12 students should know. The NRC released the final Framework on July 19, 2011. Read more about the Framework online here.

Step Two: States Led the Development of Next Generation Science Standards, in a process managed by Achieve; states led the development of K–12 science standards. The result is the standards are rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally-benchmarked science education. The DPI has been following this important work. To find out more about the NGSS development click here.

For questions about this information, contact Kevin Anderson (608) 266-3319
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