The NMEA/COSEE National
Science Education Standards (NSES) Ad Hoc committee
views its charter as making the recommendation to NMEA to establish a task force that
includes educators, scientists, and technologists to better define the important marine and
aquatic science literacy concepts and to establish linkages to existing state and national
standards that will strengthen science education. The teaching of marine/ocean and aquatic
science topics to K-12 students in all schools depends on their eventual inclusion in state and
national standards. The effort to achieve this inclusion is an important step in bringing
awareness and understanding of the ocean and aquatic areas to students and the general
The NMEA/COSEE NSES
Ad Hoc Committee therefore offers the following seven
recommendations to the NMEA Board of Directors and the National COSEE Council for
1) This ad hoc
committee recognizes that currently, there are no immediate plans to revise the
NSES. However, if and when the NSES are revised, NMEA and COSEE should aggressively
work together to ensure that Key Concepts in the marine/ocean and aquatic sciences are
integrated or infused into any revision.
2) That a list
of Key Concepts (potential, future standards) that every graduating high-school
student should know about the ocean and aquatic areas be produced. Marine/ocean and
aquatic science educators with the help of marine/ocean and aquatic research scientists will
develop these Key Concepts.
3) That age-appropriate
marine/ocean and aquatic content strands that lead to understanding
the Key Concepts year by year be developed so students realize the relevance of the oceans
and their watersheds by the time they graduate from high school. That a document (combining
the results of recommendations #2 and #3) be used to influence future state and national
science standards. It is not the intention of this Committee to suggest the development of a
comprehensive set of ocean sciences standards, but rather to identify the essential
marine/ocean and aquatic sciences Key Concepts that should be incorporated into any existing
or future science standards.
4) That high quality
curricular materials that enhance teachers abilities to teach marine/ocean
and aquatic sciences be identified, and where gaps exist, needs for new or revised materials --
based on sound science -- be determined. The focus should be on high- quality, nationally
available materials that use rigorous content and effective, inquiry-based pedagogy. These
materials can be used to teach the marine/ocean and aquatic sciences Key Concepts, as well as
the content currently specified in the NSES using examples from the marine/ocean and aquatic
5) That all current
state science standards that include marine/ocean and aquatic sciences
content be compiled and compared with the Key Concepts developed in recommendations #2
and #3. This information should be used to inform recommendation #6.
6) That the NMEA
Board of Directors and its members, along with the National COSEE
Network aggressively work to influence the writing or the revision of state standards to include
marine/ocean and coastal sciences concepts. For example, Florida may be one of the early
states to revise their state standards; a proactive effort should be made by NMEA and COSEE
to gain inclusion of marine/ocean and aquatic sciences Key Concepts in any revisions.
7) That the Key
Concepts, content strands, and age appropriate material be incorporated into
science textbooks where marine/ocean and aquatic content are covered to ensure that rigorous,
accurate, and important marine/ocean and aquatic sciences are included and taught.
Specifically, textbooks for California, New York, Texas and Florida should be targeted
because these states dominate the textbook market and strongly influence the resources offered
to other states.
Elizabeth A. Day
Leader, NOAA/Sea Grant
Lawrence Hall of Science