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Next Generation Science Standards, Finally

science classroom marshmallow tower

More than three years, two drafts, and many comments later, the final set of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was released on April 9.

Crafted by a 41-member writing team that included many classroom teachers, the new standards are based on the Framework for K–12 Science Education from the National Research Council (NRC) and seek to radically overhaul how science is taught. They emphasize cross-cutting concepts over specific content, and include engineering design and practices. The aim is to promote depth over breadth, and the teaching of science across disciplines and grades.

The elementary years, for example, have “storylines” that include energy, Earth’s place in the universe, and molecules to organisms. Middle and high school standards also emphasize bands of core content and include more Earth and space science than many high schools currently offer. NGSS’s “performance standards” are perhaps the biggest departure from current instructional practice. Rather than “identify” or “describe,” they ask students to engage in inquiry, build models, and apply what they’ve learned to demonstrate understanding of core ideas.

Some 26 states helped develop the common standards and have pledged to “give serious consideration” to adopting them. Others including Florida, Louisiana, and Wisconsin, have provided feedback on drafts, according to a blog post by Education Week’s Erik Robelen on NGSS’s debut.

The New York Times invites readers to share their thoughts on the NGSS. Watch a short video, read background, and post your comments.

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