The Next Generation Science Standards, unveiled in April 2013, attempt to ensure that students in grades K-12 receive a science education that prepares them for college and a career — while also creating productive citizens. Several organizations joined together to create the standards, including the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve (a nonprofit education reform organization).
The standards, which include practices, core ideas, crosscutting concepts and performance expectations, follow international benchmarks developed with the help of 26 lead partner states. The standards’ developers encourage teachers to apply the standards to the following domains:
- Physical sciences.
- Life sciences.
- Earth and space sciences.
- Applications of science.
NGSS Supports STEM Education
Ensuring that students in grades K-12 receive the best possible science education is the mandate of the Next Generation Science Standards, which also support science, technology, engineering and mathematics — known as STEM. Teachers who want to advance their science education knowledge should consider an online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction — Science Education. This master’s degree boosts STEM teachers’ training in areas that correlate with the Next Generation Science Standards.
Which States Have Adopted NGSS?
Improving science education across the country through the Next Generation Science Standards depends on the states that adopt the standards. Rhode Island, Kentucky, Kansas, Maryland, Vermont, California, Delaware, Washington, Washington, D.C., Nevada, Oregon, Illinois, New Jersey and West Virginia have all adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, according to Education Week. Arkansas has adopted the Standards but only for grades K-8 (National Science Teachers Association). In addition, some school districts are implementing the standards even if their states have not formally adopted the standards.
Pros of the Standards
The Next Generation Science Standards rely on the Framework for K-12 Science Education, developed by The National Research Council. The Next Generation Science Standards help eliminate the tendency to “teach to the test.” As a result, students are working with science hands-on — not simply memorizing details — to build critical-thinking abilities.
Cons of the Standards
Many states have been slow to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards. One reason may be that other education guidelines, such as Common Core, require a substantial amount of time and effort. Additionally, some states worry about controversial wording in the standards regarding evolution and climate change.
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