Panel Recommends New Breed of Assessments for Science Learning (Ed Week Blog Post)

Ed Week’s Catherine Gewertz blogged today about the new assessment report being released today from the NRC.

Laying out a new vision for science assessments, a panel of the National Research Council Tuesday proposed that states design testing systems that integrate several key types of science learning, and blend classroom-based assessments with state-level “monitoring” tests and gauges of students’ “opportunity to learn.”

The proposal, detailed in a 256-page report, offers an expert panel’s ideas on how testing should change to fully reflect the Next Generation Science Standards adopted by eight states so far. The picture it paints departs markedly from current assessment practice, which tilts heavily toward students’ knowledge of science facts, and typically takes place in one large-scale statewide exam each spring.

Read the full blog post here

Read the NRC report  here


New Report on Assessment for the Next Generation Science Standards

The National Research Council is expected to release a new report on Tuesday, December 17 on Assessment for the Next Generation Science Standards. The report will draw on available techniques and current knowledge of assessment and will recommend strategies for developing new assessments that can accurately measure students’ proficiency with the new standards. NSTA will host a web seminar on the report featuring two of the committee members: Nancy Songer from Michigan State University and Joan Herman from UCLA. The web seminar will take place on Tuesday, January 14 from 6:30-8:00 pm. To register, click here.

NSTA Curators Begin Work to Identify Resources Supporting the NGSS


IMG_1733Over the summer, NSTA put out a call to science educators interested in serving on an expert team to identify resources for science teachers to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). A whopping 650 motivated individuals applied. In October, NSTA named 55 of them as NGSS@NSTA Curators and they began their work to identify and vet high-quality resources that will help K–12 teachers and school, district, and state leaders implement the NGSS.

The NGSS are new K–12 science standards that will give all students the skills and knowledge they need to be informed citizens, college ready, and prepared for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Twenty-six states led the development of the NGSS and NSTA was a partner in the process, along with Achieve, Inc., the National Research Council (NRC) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

IMG_1732NSTA is building an interactive website around the NGSS—the NGSS@NSTA Hub—that will serve as a home base for science teachers. The site will host an interactive version of the standards that will be easily searched and manipulated for ease of use. The site also will feature vetted resources identified by the newly named curators, and also provide crowdsourcing capability to enable teachers to identify and share their own resources, interact and collaborate with colleagues, and locate tools to plan their instruction and ongoing professional learning. The site, expected to be launched in spring 2014, will be a valuable resource for teachers who will need to make significant changes in instruction based on the vision of the NGSS. All NSTA resources on the NGSS can be found online at

IMG_1727The curators recently attended an NSTA regional conference in Charlotte, N.C., where they received special training on evaluating NGSS resources. In the coming months, the curators will participate in web seminars to further their understanding of the NGSS and how to assess instructional materials, identify and describe resources that address the goals within their topic, review the work of other curators, and participate in numerous discussions with one another and NSTA staff. They also will attend the NSTA National Conference in Boston in April. Each curator will receive a free NSTA membership for their year-long commitment to the program.

Stay tuned for more information about the NGSS@NSTA Hub and its debut this spring.


Oregon science teachers have plenty of time to switch to ‘next generation’ science teaching

On October 24-26, more than 3,000 teachers convened in Portland, OR, for the NSTA regional conference and a popular topic of discussion was the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Keynote speaker Stephen Pruitt from Achieve addressed attendees with the message that teachers will have plenty of time before they are expected to teach to the new standards and that they should focus on learning more about the NGSS and how to adjust classroom instruction.

“Be patient,” Pruitt counseled. “Don’t think you can walk in and do all NGSS… Pick one element or a few and do them well. We don’t have high-stakes testing staring us down. So let’s focus on teaching and teachers….. Right now, worry about good science.”

Oregon has not yet adopted the NGSS but the Oregon Board of Education is expected to address the issue before the end of the school year.

Go here to read the full story in the Oregonian.


Kentucky: A Step Closer to Full Adoption of the NGSS

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are moving closer to full adoption in Kentucky despite legislative hick-ups along the way. Most recently, on Oct. 15, Kentucky’s Interim Joint Committee on Education decided not to address the issue of their adoption. According to WFPL radio in Louisville, the committee could have brought the issue forward—and still can until Nov. 1—but co-chair Derrick Graham is quoted as saying, “‘it’s a done deal’ and the standards have overwhelming support of the business and science communities.”

To recap, at its June 5, 2013, meeting the Kentucky Board of Education recommended the adoption of the NGSS as the Kentucky Core Academic Standards for Science. Despite the recommendations from the Board and overwhelming public support, on Sept. 11, Kentucky’s Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee voted 5-1 to find the standards deficient and did not adopt them. With lightning speed, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced plans to move forward and implement the standards. In a letter to Gov. Beshear, NSTA Executive Director Dr. David E. Evans congratulated Gov. Beshear for his outstanding support for the NGSS and for STEM education.

While Beshear’s actions allow implementation preparations to begin, legislators could override the governor when the General Assembly meets in January.

Read the Oct. 15 news article from WFPL radio.

Read NSTA’s letter of congratulations to Gov. Beshear

Read the Oct. 13 news article from

Washington State Poised to Adopt NGSS

According to the Seattle Times, Governor Jay Inslee and State Superintendent Randy Dorn are expected to announce today Washington state’s adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Washington will be the eighth state to adopt, behind Rhode Island, Kentucky, Kansas, Maryland, Vermont, California, and Delaware.

Click here to read Seattle Times news article.

ETS Convenes Experts to Address Assessment and NGSS

On Sept. 24–25, the Center for K–12 Assessment & Performance Management at ETS convened more than 250 science and assessment experts in Washington, D.C., to discuss the measurement challenges and opportunities posed by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and comparable, complex assessment expectations in science and engineering. NSTA Executive Director David Evans participated in the event and joined a panel discussion addressing implications of NGSS related to policy and practice.

Click here to view and download commissioned papers and view a webcast of two closing sessions.




Delaware Adopts NGSS; Business Leaders Rally Around CCSS

On Sept. 19, Delaware became the seventh state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, and leading business executives from key firms such as Intel, Cisco, and ExxonMobil Foundation met to urge colleagues to “take up the fight to defend Common Core State Standards [CCSS].” They outlined plans to promote the CCSS through a number of strategies, which include national advertising and outreach campaigns to parents and company employees.

Read more: