A “Quick Start Guide” to the Next Generation Science Standards
At last, the first draft of the Next Generation Science Standards is available for public review! Between now and June 1, you can visit http://www.nextgenscience.org/next-generation-science-standards, review the standards, and offer your input about what all students should know and be able to do for science in grades K-12. Achieve, Inc. has included a large amount of information with the standards, and the standards themselves are quite complicated. Here are my suggestions for jumping in.
- First, it’s best to be familiar with A Framework for K-12 Science Education, as it is the foundational document for the standards. If you don’t have time to read or skim entire document, at least look over the Summary and Part I: A Vision for Science Education. NSTA also has a nice guide to the framework.
- Second, click on the below image to view a short video overview of the structure of the standards.
- Third, start with the topic and grade level you are most comfortable with by searching or scrolling down to the list of topics. From there, you can view the standards in multiple ways, and see how progressions develop from your area of comfort across and within grade levels.
- Finally, once you’ve had a chance to digest the standards, you can register with Achieve and complete a survey on the standards. Your feedback will be taken into account in the development of the second public draft, due out in the fall.
A few more points to keep in mind:
- The standards themselves were written as performance expectations. That means these are things that students are expected to be able to do to demonstrate their knowledge as part of an assessment. They are not intended to limit instruction or prescribe a particular way of teaching a topic.
- The more you relate your feedback to the actual scope and vision of the standards, as described in the Framework for K-12 Science Education, the more helpful it will be. I’ve seen some comments that seem to be related more to other problems in education than the specific document under review.
- Some familiar topics will not be in the standards. The focus is on depth in critical topics over breadth.
- The standards are based on the latest research on how students learn. As a result, some topics are introduced earlier and with greater rigor than they have been before (especially in elementary school).
- The standards are not the “Common Core” for science, although they are likely to play a central role in science education in the years to come, similar to the role the Common Core will have for English-Language Arts and Math. See these FAQs about the NGSS for more information.
What thoughts do you have about the Next Generation Science Standards and the review process for the NGSS?
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