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Keywords:

  • globalization;
  • international standards

Abstract

Standards-based science education, with its emphasis on monitoring and accountability, is rapidly becoming a key part of the globalization of science education. Standards-based testing within countries is increasingly being used to determine the effectiveness of a country's educational system, and international testing programs such as Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) enable countries to compare their students to a common standard and to compete among themselves for top scores. The raising of standards and the competition among countries is driven in part by a belief that economic success depends on a citizenry that is knowledgeable about science and technology. This article considers the question of whether it is possible and prudent to begin conversations about what an international standards document for global citizenship in science education might look like. It examines current practices in a range of countries to show both the areas of international agreement and the significant differences that exist. It concludes with a recommendation that such conversations should begin, with the goal of creating a document that lays out the knowledge and competencies that international citizens should have but yet that gives space to individual countries to pursue goals that are unique to their own setting. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Inc. J Res Sci Teach 48: 567–591, 2011