The Inclusion of the Nature of Science in Nine Recent International Science Education Standards Documents Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018, Springer Nature B.V. Understanding the nature of science (NOS) has long been a desired outcome of science education, despite ongoing disagreements about the content, structure, and focus of NOS expectations. Addressing the concern that teachers likely focus only on student learning expectations appearing in standards documents, this study examines the current state of NOS in science education standards documents from nine diverse countries to determine the overt NOS learning expectations that appeared, NOS statements provided near those learning expectations, but not identified as learning outcomes (such as chart column headers or footnotes), and NOS statements found in ancillary text (e.g., introductory material or appendices). Findings indicate that NOS ideas rarely occur as expectations for student learning and are far more commonly found in ancillary material. Moreover, consensus was not apparent in the overt learning outcomes for students. Given the well-documented poor state of NOS instruction and the consistent lack of NOS appearing in published curriculum materials, the NOS standards appearing in nearly all documents analyzed are unlikely to provide sufficient conceptual or pedagogical support for NOS to be accurately interpreted or translated into meaningful experiences for students.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Olson, J. K.

citation count

  • 53

complete list of authors

  • Olson, Joanne K

publication date

  • October 2018