Advancing Coherent and Equitable Systems of Science Education (ACESSE)

The Advancing Coherent and Equitable Systems of Science Education (ACESSE, or “access”) project brings together partners from educational research and practice to promote equity and coherence in science education. The project is based on a deep collaboration between the Council of State Science Supervisors, the University of Washington, and the University of Colorado Boulder.

Opportunities in Practice

Systems in need of transformation can promote inequities. Educators are frequently asked to implement state and local initiatives that do not share a common vision for teaching and learning or cohere with one another. This incoherence can reinforce educational inequities. It presents an extra challenge for schools that are already struggling with accountability pressures or assessment systems. However, transformation of such incoherence through collaborative work across stakeholder communities can greatly improve equity within systems of education.


The ACESSE project has been bringing together educators and researchers to collaboratively research, develop, and promote strategies to make science education more coherent and equitable. Strategies and resources that come from this project are being shared around the country through networks of science education leaders. The strategies are grounded in the vision of A Framework for K-12 Education.

The ACESSE Project is funded by the National Science Foundation under multiple phases of grant funding.

  • Phase 1 went from 2016-2019 and focused on formative assessment as a leverage point for improvement (NSF grant #1561300).

  • Phase 2 is underway and will occur between 2019-2023 with a focus on the adaptation of instructional materials as a leverage point for improvement (NSF grant #1920249).


The ACESSE project is testing and iteratively refining resources and strategies that arise from opportunities of practice identified and defined collectively by educators and researchers. Find resources at OER Commons or Full descriptions of the completed resources can also be found on the Professional Learning Resource page of this site.

Phase 2 curriculum adaptation is focusing on designing professional learning and strategic leadership development resources for equity projects such as:

  • Engaging in cultural pedagogies

  • Supporting diverse sense-making

  • Disrupting ableism

  • Promoting place-based learning and ecological caring

  • Centering racial justice

  • Arranging for cross-age, family, and community science learning

  • Designing course sequences using a range of meaningful phenomena

Project Overview PDF

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