Youth Scientific Literacy

Youth Scientific Literacy
Photographed by Rhys Panero

Youth Scientific Literacy

Scientific literacy is an important educational and societal goal. Being scientifically literate helps enable individuals to make informed decisions related to societal challenges such as climate change, antibiotic resistance, clean drinking water, population-level health concerns like obesity, green technologies, and others. However, national and international assessments have revealed that scientific literacy among K-12 youth in the United States is low, and efforts to improve science teaching and learning in all educational settings are imperative. Out-of-school time education programs like 4-H can provide effective science learning environments. Thus, advancing and expanding educational resources and professional development opportunities for 4-H educators in California and nationally can help address the need to improve youth scientific literacy.

Links to relevant publications

Smith, M.H., Worker, S., Ambrose, A., Schmitt-McQuitty, L. (2015). Scientific literacy: California 4-H defines it from citizens' perspective. California Agriculture, 69(2), 92-97.
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 Smith, M.H., Worker, S., Ambrose, A., Schmitt-McQuitty, L. (2015). Including civic engagement as a component of scientific literacy. Science Education and Civic Engagement, 7(2), 29-33.
Available at:

Martin Smith Faculty Page