Tag Archives: standards-based education
As I wrote last week, the final Next Generation Science Standards were released on April 9, 2013. Of course, the question everyone is asking is: “What happens now?” For many of the biggest “what now?” topics, including adoption by states, implementation by schools, and eventual assessments for the standards, there are still many unknowns but [...]
After nearly two years of effort by the lead states, the writing teams, and Achieve, the final Next Generation Science Standards were released on April 9, 2013. Congratulations to all involved on reaching this historic milestone! These standards are significant because they have the potential to affect what over half of the nation’s K-12 students [...]
Several weeks ago, two prominent organizations, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the Thomas Fordham Institute, each released their feedback on the first draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In both cases, the feedback was quite critical of the draft. Since this is just the first public draft, there’s lots of time [...]
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 [...]
At the recent National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA) conference in Indianapolis, I had the opportunity to hear from some of the writers of the Framework for K-12 Science Education, as well as several people involved in the writing of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
Who is writing the standards and when will they be written? While answers for many major questions about the standards will have to wait until the first public draft comes out in the next month or so, here are answers to some frequently asked questions I heard at the conference for anyone wanting an overview of the standards and framework.
Achieve, Inc. is coordinating a group of 26 lead states in writing the standards. Two public drafts will be released. The first is expected to be released in late April or early May (several months behind the initial schedule), the second in the fall, and final standards are expected to be released for consideration for adoption next winter (2012-2013).
The first public draft of the new Next Generation Science Standards is now planned to be released in April, with final standards scheduled to be complete by the end of 2012. There’s a lot of excitement around the new standards, but there are some major challenges for translating the Framework for K-12 Science Education into workable standards as well. Here are the biggest questions that I have:
1. Will these standards solve the traditional “mile wide and inch deep” problem of past science standards?
A long-standing complaint about earlier science standards is that they have tried to cover too many topics at each grade level, leaving no time to go into depth on any of them. The Framework for K-12 Science Education covers a lot of ground in the traditional content areas of life, physical, and Earth and space sciences, but also includes a heavy emphasis on engineering, technology, and applications of science as well as practices of science. That’s a lot to get through. Without careful interpretation of the framework, these standards may try to cover more than can reasonably be taught.
2. Will the standards avoid “information overload” for teachers trying to implement them?
Depending on how you interpret the framework, each standard may require teachers to mesh scientific and engineering practices; crosscutting concepts; a core idea from life, physical, or Earth and space science; and cross-alignment to Common Core math and ELA standards. I remember struggling as a classroom teacher just to make sure each lesson was engaging and fully covered a single content standard! Combining all these ideas without becoming overly prescriptive or frustratingly general will be challenging.