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Next-generation science standards open for comments

Feedback on the standards' second draft will be accepted until Jan. 29

Next-generation science standards open for comments

The standards are being constructed in a two-step process involving the NRC, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve. During the first step, the NRC developed the “Framework for K-12 Science Education” in July 2011. This framework uses up-to-date science and science learning research to identify critical K-12 science concepts.

The second step involves creating the standards themselves. That process is managed by Achieve and led by 26 participating states.

“Lead state partners” will develop plans for implementation of the new science standards at the school level. Those 26 lead state partners are working with the Next Generation Science Standards writing committee to offer leadership and guidance. Those state partners will designate state science leads to provide input on issues such as the actual standards, adoption, and implementation; be vocal advocates for the new standards; form committees to react to drafts and discuss adoption issues; and more.

Year after year, reports suggest the U.S. is not keeping pace with students’ science performance in other countries.

Drafters of the new standards point to a number of reasons why U.S. science standards must be revamped with increased rigor, including:

  • Diminished national capacity for innovation.
  • Reduction of the nation’s competitive economic edge.
  • Lagging U.S. student achievement.
  • The need to prepare students for careers in the modern workforce.
  • The need for scientific and technological literacy for an educated society.

“The second public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards is a significant step forward in developing exemplary new standards that all states can support,” said NSTA President Karen Ostlund. “When completed and adopted, these new science standards will change the way science is taught and learned in classrooms nationwide by fully engaging K-12 students … in a way that will deepen and strengthen their knowledge and skills in science.”

Ostlund said the NSTA is pleased with changes made based on feedback from the first draft of the standards, and that the group will continue to work with the standards’ writers to advocate for additional changes and rigor.

“The levels of achievement called for … are ambitious, and we call on all stakeholders to help us build the capacity to adopt and implement the new standards and provide the broad support that schools and teachers will need in the months and years ahead,” she said.

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