As Environmental Educators, we often make connections to – or deal directly with – science topics and standards. From now through January 29th, we have a very unique opportunity to contribute to the development of the Next Generation Science Standards – a state-led effort to develop nationally recognized, internationally benchmarked standards for K-12 science education.
The effort comes in response to lagging achievement scores among US students, the need to prepare the next generation for a variety of careers and form a scientifically literate society, and the desire to regain the United States’ competitive edge in science and innovation. Previously, most states have based their science standards either on the National Science Education Standards from the NRC and Benchmarks for Science Literacy from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, both of which are about 15 years old. In those 15 years, many scientific disciplines have evolved in both knowledge and technique, while schools try to play catch-up. New, updated standards will help to fill this gap. The process of writing new standards began in 2011, when the National Research Council (NRC) published it’s Framework for K-12 Science Education, a document upon which the Next Generation Science Standards are based. The development of the Next Generation Science Standards is a collaboration between the NRC, the AAAS, the National Science Teachers Association, and Achieve. To clear up the confusion that I had initially, Achieve is a “bipartisan, non-profit organization that helps states raise academic standards, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability to prepare all young people for postsecondary education, work, and citizenship.” The standards have been written and reviewed in a variety of “lead states” throughout the country, with all states and the public invited to comment.
The standards may be viewed either as a PDF document available for download, or in an online format. Standards may be viewed by as arranged by topic or by Disciplinary Core Ideas. This is the last opportunity to offer comment on the standards, which are set to be available in their final form this spring.
You can view the standards here.
If you’re having trouble interpreting the format of the standards, visit this page for help.
Finding the place to submit comments on the Next Generation Science Standards page is quite tricky, but I’ve stumbled upon it at last. Submit your feedback by using the Next Generation Science Standards survey.