Through a collaborative, state-led process, new K–12 science standards have been developed that are rich in content and practice and arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education. The Next Generation Science Standards are based on the Framework for K–12 Science Education developed by the National Research Council. 1
Advances in the Next Generation Science Standards
Every NGSS standard has three dimensions: disciplinary core ideas (content), scientific and engineering practices, and cross-cutting concepts. Currently, most state and district standards express these dimensions as separate entities, leading to their separation in both instruction and assessment. The integration of rigorous content and application reflects how science and engineering is practiced in the real world.
Scientific and Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts are designed to be taught in context – not in a vacuum. The NGSS encourage integration with multiple core concepts throughout each year.
Science concepts build coherently across K-12. The emphasis of the NGSS is a focused and coherent progression of knowledge from grade band to grade band, allowing for a dynamic process of building knowledge throughout a student’s entire K-12 scientific education.
The NGSS focus on a smaller set of Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) that students should know by the time they graduate from high school, focusing on deeper understanding and application of content.
Science and engineering are integrated into science education by raising engineering design to the same level as scientific inquiry in science classroom instruction at all levels, and by emphasizing the core ideas of engineering design and technology applications.
The NGSS content is focused on preparing students for college and careers. The NGSS are aligned, by grade level and cognitive demand with the English Language Arts and Mathematics Common Core State Standards. This allows an opportunity both for science to be a part of a child’s comprehensive education as well as ensuring an aligned sequence of learning in all content areas. The three sets of standards overlap and are reinforcing in meaningful and substantive ways.
1 The performance expectations were developed using elements from the NRC document and should be cited as, A Framework for K-12 Science Education, © 2012, National Academy of Sciences.” Moreover, the portion of the standards entitled “Disciplinary Core Ideas” is reproduced verbatim from A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Cross-Cutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. They are integrated and reprinted with permission from the National Academy of Sciences. © 2012, National Academy of Science
NGSS is being rolled out in SPUSD and our teachers are building their background knowledge about the standards, the shifts and the scientific and engineering practices. This learning began for most SPUSD teachers in 2016, with all teachers being introduced to the discipline core and cross cutting ideas; the instructional strategy of 5 E's and using the NGSS aligned curriculum Project Lead the Way.
Teachers will continue to build their understanding of NGSS and add a new unit of PLTW Unit to their Science teaching. In so doing, our children will build their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.