National Communication Standards

The authors of the national mathematics and science standards recognize the importance of communication, and have included it as a standard to be met. Exemplars has also included these relevant communication standards in our math and science rubrics.

Exemplars Math and Science Rubrics

From the beginning, Exemplars math and science rubrics have included criteria focused on communication. Student's work must concentrate on communication, or it will not meet the (Exemplars) standard.

National Research Council

The following excerpts were written by the National Research Council and can be found in the publication, "National Science Education Standards" on pages 36-176.

National Research Council. National Science Education Standards. Washington: National Academy Press, 1996.

Orchestrate Discourse Among Students About Scientific Ideas.

An important stage of inquiry and of student science learning is the oral and written discourse that focuses the attention of students on how they know what they know and how their knowledge connects to larger ideas, other domains, and the world beyond the classroom. Teachers directly support and guide this discourse in two ways: They require students to record their work--teaching the necessary skills as appropriate--and they promote many different forms of communication (for example, spoken, written, pictorial, graphic, mathematical and electronic). 

p. 36

Science Content Standards: K-4

As students focus on the processes of doing investigations, they develop the ability to ask scientific questions, investigate aspects of the world around them, and use their observations to construct reasonable explanations for the questions posed. Guided by teachers, students continually develop their science knowledge. Students should also learn through the inquiry process how to communicate about their own and their peers' investigations and explanations. 

p 121

Communicate Investigations and Explanations.

Students should begin developing the abilities to communicate, critique, and analyze their work and the work of other students. This communication might be spoken or drawn as well as written.

p 122-23

Science Content Standards: 5-8

In middle schools, students produce oral or written reports that present the results of their inquiries. Such reports and discussions should be a frequent occurrence in science programs. Students' discussions should center on questions, such as "How should we organize the data to present the clearest answer to our question?" or "How should we organize the evidence to present the strongest explanation?" Out of the discussions about the range of ideas, the background knowledge claims, and the data, the opportunity arises for learners to shape their experiences about the practice of science and the rules of scientific thinking and knowing. 

p 144

The language and practices evident in the classroom are an important element of doing inquiries. Students need opportunities to present their abilities and understanding and to use the knowledge and language of science to communicate scientific explanations and ideas. Writing, labeling drawings, completing concept maps, developing spreadsheets, and designing computer graphics should be a part of the science education. These should be presented in a way that allows students to receive constructive feedback on the quality of thought and expression and the accuracy of scientific explanations. 

p 144

Communicate and Defend a Scientific Argument.

Science Content Standards: 9-12

Students in school science programs should develop the abilities associated with accurate and effective communication. These include writing and following procedures, expressing concepts, reviewing information, summarizing data, using language appropriately, developing diagrams and charts, explaining statistical analysis, speaking clearly and logically, constructing a reasoned argument, and responding appropriately to critical comments. 

p 176

Scientific explanations must adhere to criteria such as: a proposed explanation must be logically consistent; it must abide by the rules of evidence; it must be open to questions and possible modification; and it must be based on historical and current scientific knowledge. 

p 176

National Council for the Teachers of Mathematics

The following excerpts were documented by the National Council for the Teachers of Mathematics and can be found in the publication, "Principles and Standards for School Mathematics" on pages 60-268.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. Third Printing ed. Reston: The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Inc, 2003.

"Students who have opportunities, encouragement, and support for speaking, writing, reading and listening in mathematics classes reap dual benefits: They communicate to learn mathematics and they learn to communicate mathematically."

p. 60

"Writing in mathematics can also help students consolidate their thinking because it requires them to reflect on their work and clarify their thoughts about the ideas developed in the lesson. Later, they may find it helpful to reread the record of their own thoughts."

p. 61

"Written communication should be nurtured...Students begin school with few writing skills. In the primary grades, they may rely on other means, such as drawing pictures, to communicate. Gradually they will also write words and sentences. In grades 3-5, students can work on sequencing ideas and adding details and their writing will become more elaborate. In the middle grades, they should become more explicit about basing their writing on a sense of audience and purpose. For some purposes it will be appropriate for some students to describe their thinking informally, using ordinary language and sketches, but they should also learn to communicate in more-formal mathematical ways, using conventional mathematical terminology through the middle grades and into high school."

p. 62

"The process of learning to write mathematically is similar to that of learning to write in any genre. Practice, with guidance, is important. So is attention to the specifics of mathematical argument, including the use an special meanings of mathematical language and the representations and standards of explanation and proof."

p. 62

"Examining and discussing both exemplary and problematic pieces of mathematic writing can be beneficial at all levels."

p. 62


"Communicating about mathematical ideas is a way for students to articulate, clarify, organize, and consolidate their thinking."


"When students struggle to communicate ideas clearly, they develop a better understanding of their own thinking."


Throughout the early years, students should have daily opportunities to talk and write about mathematics."


"Young students' abilities to talk and listen are usually more advanced than their abilities to read and write, especially in the early years of this grade band. Therefore, teachers must be diligent in providing experiences that allow varied forms of communication as a natural component of mathematics classes..."



"Their writing should be more coherent than in earlier grades, and their increasing mathematical vocabulary can be used along with everyday language to explain concepts. ....students' descriptions of problem-solving strategies and reasoning should become more detailed and coherent."

p. 194

"Teachers also need to provide students with assistance in writing about mathematical concepts. They should expect students' writing to be correct, complete, coherent, and clear. Especially in the beginning, teachers need to send writing back for revision."



"Each student should be expected not only to present and explain the strategy he or she used to solve a problem but also to analyze, compare, and contrast the meaningfulness, efficiency, and elegance of a variety of strategies. Explanations should include mathematical arguments and rationales, not just procedural descriptions or summaries."

p. 268

AAA Science

The following excerpts were written by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and can be found in the publication Benchmarks for Science Literacy. Project 2061 on pages 295-297.

American Association for the Advancement of Science. Benchmarks for Science Literacy. Project 2061 ed. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1983.


Good communication is a two-way street. It is as important to receive information as to disseminate it, to understand other's ideas as to have one's own understood.

p. 295

By the end of the 2nd grade, students should be able to:

  • Describe and compare things in terms of number, shape, texture, size, weight, color, and motion.

p. 296

By the end of the 5th grade, students should be able to:

  • Write instructions that others can follow in carrying out a procedure.

p. 296

By the end of the 8th grade, students should be able to:

  • Organize information in simple tables and graphs and identify relationships they reveal.
  • Read simple tables and graphs produced by others and describe in words what they show.

p. 297

By the end of the 12th grade, students should be able to:

  • Write clear, step-by-step instructions for conducting investigations, operating something, or following a procedure.
  • Participate in-group discussions on scientific topics by restating or summarizing accurately what others have said, asking for clarification or elaboration, and expressing alternative positions.
  • Use tables, charts, and graphs in making arguments and claims in oral and written presentations.

p. 297