Digging into the Next Generation Science Standards

Time Frame: As some of you know, this April, the Next Generation Science Standards were released.  Maine was a lead state in developing these Standards and we are very likely to adopt them in the near future.  Predicting what the State and the legislature may do is  probably like predicting the weather for next month, but I am a betting man and I would expect that these Standards will be adopted next year.  After adoption, I would expect a 3-4 year rollout before they inform assessments.

Implementation: How we roll out our implementation of NGSS is still a work in progress, but I have some initial thoughts.

  1. We need to initially focus on the shifts expected in the implementation of the Standards.
  2. We need to next apply these shifts to what we are currently doing.  How can we apply the practices called for in the NGSS to our current curriculum, assessment, and instruction?  How do we highlight and emphasize the crosscutting standards within our current curriculum, assessment, and instruction?
  3. We need to practice and evaluate these shifts against our current practices and then
  4. We need to rewrite our current curriculum to align with the standards articulated in the NGSS.

In an ideal world we would have the time to work through this process in a linear manner, but the reality is the last step is the one that is the most easy to dig into and the easiest to recognize in the Standards documents.  However, if we are going to achieve the vision articulated in the K12 Science Framework and documented in the NGSS, we need to understand how science teaching and learning needs to shift.  Otherwise we will be attaching Standards to practices and curriculum that may be nothing more than window dressing.

Fortunately, we have time to consider the changes articulated in the new documents and to shift not only the Standards we are addressing but also the way we teach and assess science.

Where to begin?  There are many entry points to this work and my job next year is to articulate a beginning.  If you are interested in beginning this work this summer then I would recommend the following steps.

Digging Deeper

The primary documents.

The National Academy Press of the National Academy of Sciences makes many of the materials associated with the NGSS (and many other educational initiatives) available for free by creating an account.   Visit these links and create an account to download the following free outstanding resources.

Next Steps

As noted above, I believe that our work begins next year with a focus on implementing the changes in Practices and Cross Cutting Standards as they apply to what we are currently teaching in science.   These shifts must happen before the vision articulated above can be realized and the shifts are just as valuable applied to our current content standards as they are to the new Disciplinary Core Ideas.


About shawncarlson

Assistant Superintendent
This entry was posted in AOS 98, BRES, BRHS, Curriculum, Edgecomb, Georgetown, Southport and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Digging into the Next Generation Science Standards

  1. Marcie Look says:

    Very informative video, Sean. Thanks for sharing. I haven’t read all the links yet, but I’m wondering if you’re saying that NGSS science standards are going to be adopted because the Common Core will not be releasing their own science standards. I guess I had a misconception that the Common Core would include standards for science and social studies in the future and I thought Mary said the science ones would be coming out this fall. Thanks again!

  2. shawncarlson says:

    The NGSS are what we refer to as the Common Core. In reality the Common Core is a separate document for ELA and Mathematics. These are what curriculum writers have been referring to as the Common Core for science. They are out now, the state of Maine has not adopted these as our state standards yet.

    • Marcie Look says:

      Got it. Thanks. At first I was skeptical of the EIE curriculum that you shared with Matt because I thought it would be “one more thing”. After looking into it, I changed my mind. I see how it’s more of a process that you use with already existing content that you teach. Very cool! Thanks for sharing.

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