Draft Report on Next Generation Science Standards Released

May 16, 2012

by Paula Skedsvold

The National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education, released in mid-2011, created a starting point for the development of science standards.  A number of science and science education organizations were eager to take advantage of the momentum that had been created when states agreed to common core standards in mathematics and English, and the NRC report helped launch this next stage. As the report was published, the nonprofit ACHIEVE began its work to draft a common set of science standards for K-12 education that could be used to build curricula and assessments. 

On May 11, 2012, ACHIEVE released a draft report of the science standards and is seeking public input until June 1. The next generation science standards (NGSS) have been written as student performance expectations grouped by topics. The performance expectations are composed of the three dimensions described in the NRC’s Framework report (science and engineering practice, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary ideas) and describe how students will demonstrate their understanding. 

Readers of our e-news will recall that FABBS and a number of behavioral and social science societies encouraged the inclusion of behavioral and social sciences as part of the Framework report. The goal of the report was to “ensure that by the end of 12th grade, all students have some appreciation of the beauty and wonder of science; possess sufficient knowledge of science and engineering to engage in public discussions on related issues; are careful consumers of scientific and technological information related to their everyday lives; are able to continue to learn about science outside school; and have the skills to enter careers of their choice….”

Although the final NRC Framework report was limited to traditional areas of science and a few others areas such as engineering, the behavioral and social sciences have two opportunities to continue to make the case for exposing K-12 students to all areas of science. First, we have an opportunity to offer behavioral and social science examples where appropriate in ACHIEVE’s draft report, and a number of behavioral and social science societies are doing so. Second, the NRC will be developing a study panel to examine the inclusion of behavioral and social sciences in K-12 science education. One important component of that effort will be how the behavioral and social sciences might be integrated with this broader ongoing effort to ensure that K-12 students have an understanding of the many phenomena that are subject to scientific inquiry. 

Review ACHIEVE’s draft report » 
Public comments may be added by clicking on “Go to the NGSS Survey.”