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State Science Standards

The Florida Department of Education State Standards may be seen at this website: http://www.fldoe.org/.

Sunshine State Standards: Science

History

The Sunshine State Standards were first approved by the State Board of Education in 1996 as a means of identifying academic expectations for student achievement in Florida. These original standards were written in several subject areas and were divided into four separate grade clusters (PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12). This format was chosen to provide flexibility to school districts in designing curriculum based on local needs.

As Florida moved toward greater accountability for student achievement at each grade level, the Sunshine State Standards were further defined with specific "Grade Level Expectations" added over time. As time went on, two realities appeared that magnified the need to increase the level of rigor, coherence, and clarity in Florida's academic standards. First, it was recognized that the level of rigor in the 1996 standards was inadequate to address the increased levels of achievement attained by our students. Second, ample evidence from both national and international measures of student achievement indicated the urgent need for higher levels of challenge for all students. This could not occur without a serious effort to increase the level of rigor and expectations across the board for all Florida students.

The Department of Education recognized the need for a systematic approach to review and revise all of the academic standards, and on January 17, 2006, the State Board of Education adopted a six-year cycle that set forth a schedule for the regular review and revision of all K-12 content standards. This action went beyond increasing the rigor of the standards; it included this alignment of the new standards with assessments, instructional materials, professional development, and teacher licensure exams. This way, the new standards and their higher levels of rigor will be fully integrated into the entire culture of K-12 instruction. This move sets the stage for higher levels of rigor and higher academic achievement for years to come.

A Commitment to Excellence

In 2006, the Florida legislature boldly stated its commitment to higher and more challenging standards for Florida's children by passing HB 7087. Florida law now reads:

§1001.03(1) ...The state board shall establish a schedule to facilitate the periodic review of the standards to ensure adequate rigor, relevance, logical student progression, and integration of reading, writing, and mathematics across all subject areas.

This is a commitment that is shared by educators across Florida, as evidenced by the overwhelming level of public feedback for this revision process. Our goal is to move forward with confidence and a sense of purpose as we begin implementing these revised rigorous science content standards.

Adopted by SBE February 19, 2008 Florida's Student Performance Science Standards 2

Many people were involved in the review and revision of the science standards. We extend our thanks to all of the educators and members of the public for their active interest in this important work. We look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders as partners in implementing these higher expectations for all Florida students.

Dr. Eric J. Smith
Commissioner of Education

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