The evolution of science education

From combatting a global pandemic, to understanding how we can respond and adapt to a world influenced by climate change, students need to know and get science.

Yet for some learners, science can feel like something for other people. We know that when learners feel science is for them then that shows in their progress and opens up science to a more diverse audience.

“The scientific challenges of the pandemic and the ever-growing signs of climate change mean that there has never been a more important time to focus on science, empowering students to thrive in a changing world.”

Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills, OECD

What our research told us

In 2020 we conducted research with teachers from 22 countries about the evolution of science education and we used these findings to inform our approach to supporting learners and educators around the world in the development of our educational resources.

The takeaways from this research were that science education should aim to:

  • Inspire learners to engage with science
  • Teach underpinning scientific concepts
  • Teach skills to enable effective experimentation
  • Help learners to achieve a range of desirable outcomes through science

We’ve continued to contribute to a global conversation about how we equip learners for the challenges this research highlighted, so they are prepared for the future.

“Science education for the future must evolve (or transform), to focus more on building the abilities and desire of all youth to contribute in meaningful ways through work and citizenship opportunities in our fragile world.”

Bonnie Schmidt, President and Founder, Let’s Talk Science

Preparing students for the future

Effective education and assessment is about more than achieving good grades – in a world that’s more connected that ever, it should be about preparing students for a successful future and unlocking their potential, so they can contribute to both their local communities and global society.

We should embrace new technologies that further education and research supporting every learner and researcher, whatever their circumstances, preferences, or learning styles. As the world changes, the skills we need change too.

“Being a scientist today is much more than test tubes and white coats in a laboratory.”

Bruce Neale, Managing Director International Education, OUP

Re-imagining science education

Oxford University Press understands that many schools think it’s time science teaching was changed for the better. Classrooms, schools, and learning styles around the world are more diverse than ever before, and science teaching needs to reflect this.

Working in collaboration with teachers, education specialists and institutions, we are continually exploring the teaching and learning methods that offer students the best opportunity to realise their full potential in science.

We want to motivate and empower learners to understand the importance of science and to apply that in their daily lives.

We were chosen to develop the PISA 2025 Science Framework because of our deep expertise in assessment and science education, working in collaboration with leading experts around the world.

Just as with our work on PISA, building curricula and resources that enable every student to succeed in science is at the heart of our products.

“No two schools are the same, just as no two children are the same, and teachers continually adapt to meet the needs of the communities they service. A sense of ‘belonging’ is critical for any learner to feel secure in a learning environment.”

The power of awe and wonder: introducing the new Oxford Smart Curriculum. 2021, Oxford University Press


Find out how OUP can help you Shape Science Citizens through our high quality, impactful resources.



To help us understand how prepared learners are, OUP has collaborated with the OECD to develop the PISA 2025 Science Framework to help policy makers understand the capabilities and progress of 15-year-olds worldwide in science.