On June 11, the Arkansas State Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt the Arkansas K-12 Science Standards for Grade K-4 and 5-8. The standards are based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) with additional Arkansas-specific clarification statements and assessment boundaries, grade-specific learning progressions, and overviews of the content for each grade to assist teachers in implementation. Arkansas was one of 26 states that led the development of the NGSS.
The K-4 science standards will be implemented in the 2016-17 school year and standards for grades 5-8 in 2017-18. Work on high school standards is underway with a plan to present them to the State Board of Education in the spring of 2016. The current Arkansas Science Curriculum Frameworks are in place for the 2015-2016 school year.
According to Michele Snyder, the Science Curriculum and Instruction Advisor for the Arkansas Department of Education, the key to successful implementation of the new state standards is “an ever-growing strategic implementation plan that includes the essential aspects of curriculum and instruction, professional development, and assessment.” In addition, “a solid communication plan must be ongoing to support these essential aspects.”
She added that they are “focused on developing and delivering effective professional development to teachers, administrators and curriculum coordinators to support schools in the transition to a new set of science standards,” and also working on developing new science summative assessments and resources and tools to support students and teachers.
Fourteen states (including the District of Columbia) have adopted the NGSS, including Arkansas, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
Click here to learn more about the Arkansas standards
Click here to read the press release from the Arkansas Department of Education
Click here to read a blog post in Education Week