Next Generation Science Standards in Action: New Teacher Videos

Liana Heiten from Ed Week highlights new videos on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) released by the Teaching Channel in partnership with Achieve. The videos showcase classroom lessons aligned to the standards.

One video shows a high school science teacher from Boone County, Ky., who has her students build Rube Goldberg machines to demonstrate energy transfers. The teacher asks students to make connections between their creations and energy transfers within an ecosystem, as a way of bridging the physical and life sciences.

Click here to read the article

Click here to access the videos

Tennessee Reviews Science Standards

The Tennessee State Board of Education has launched a  website, to collect public feedback on Tennessee’s grade 3-12 science standards.

The science standards, developed by a committee of Tennessee science educators throughout last year, set grade-specific goals that exemplify what students are expected to know and be able to do by the end of a given grade or course.

Click here to read a story on WGNS RAdio website (September 18, 2015)


Alabama’s Science Standards Get A Makeover

According to National Public Radio, the Alabama Board of Education voted unanimously on Sept. 10 to replace old K-12 science standards for the first time in a decade.

Ryan Reardon, a teacher at Jefferson County International Baccalaureate, and other science educators say Alabama’s old standards were dated and thin on evolution. The new standards call it “established scientific knowledge.”

The article explains that there has been little pushback during the development of the standards and that there are a few obvious reasons why. They have the official backing of the Alabama Science Teachers Association. Also, at public hearings, the state required comments to be about specific standards. Critics couldn’t simply oppose the whole effort on principle.

One more possible reason for the lack of controversy: While the new standards have a little more on climate change, they still don’t say humans are a cause.

Perhaps the biggest change in the new standards is the “doing of science” itself. There’s more focus on hands-on exploration, unifying concepts like cause and effect or structure and function, and data analysis.

Click here to read the full article from National Public Radio (September 10, 2015)

Stephen Pruitt Likely to be Kentucky’s Commissioner of Education

On Friday, Sept. 4, that the Kentucky Board of Education announced that Stephen Pruitt, senior vice president at Achieve Inc., will likely be the state’s next commissioner of education, pending the outcome of a background check, a vote by the board and successful contract negotiations.

“Dr. Pruitt is very excited for the opportunity and has indicated to the board that, if offered the job, he would accept,” Kentucky Board of Education Chair Roger Marcum said. “He brings a wealth of educational experience from the classroom, the state and the national levels. He is personable and a good communicator. The board feels very fortunate to have someone of his caliber and we are confident that Dr. Pruitt will continue to strengthen the tradition of excellence in Kentucky public education.”

Click here to read the press release.

Click here to read an article in the Kentucky Courier-Journal (Sept 4, 2015)

Memorizing is out, thinking like a scientist is in

Michigan prepares to adopt new science standards based on the Next Generation Science Standards and is holding community meetings around the state to gather input. According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, the input will shape a final recommendation that likely will go to the State Board of Education in October.

“The standards reflect research that provides greater clarity about how kids learn, said Robby Cramer, executive director of the Michigan Science Teachers Association, which supports the standards.”

Click here to read the article in the Detroit Free Press (August 30)

New science standards empower students

In an opinion piece appearing in the Portland Tribune on August 27, Bradford Hill, a teacher and president of the Oregon Science Teachers Association, writes about the changes coming to science classrooms with the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards.

“Thanks to Oregon’s adoption of new, stronger science standards, we are transforming how we engage young people in science and broadening students’ understanding of how the tools of science can enhance any profession they may choose.”

Click here to read the

Iowa Becomes 15th State to Adopt the NGSS

Members of the Iowa State Board of Education today voted unanimously to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for its K-12 students. The Board adopted the new science standards based on recommendations of a 19-member review team made up of educators, representatives from the workforce, and other Iowa science education stakeholders. The Board directed the State Department of Education to develop a timeline and plan to help schools statewide put the new science standards into practice.

“While the Next Generation Science Standards represents the backbone of what we’ve adopted today, these are now Iowa’s science standards because they’ve been reviewed, vetted and modified by Iowans,” said Charles Edwards of Des Moines, the board president. “I’m impressed with these high-quality science standards, as well as the process we’ve run in Iowa to review and adopt them.”

The NGSS have now been adopted by District of Columbia and 14 states, including Arkansas, California, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Click here to read a press release issued by the Iowa State Board of Education (August 6, 2015)

Click here to read the review team’s full report.

Click here to read a news clip from Iowa’s KIMT TV. (August 10)

Click here to read a blog in Ed Week (August 11) registration required

New Science Exams for Illinois Students Based on the NGSS

The Chicago Tribune reports on new science exams coming to Illinois students this fall. Students in grades 5, 8 and 10 will take new online exams in science that are based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The tests come after Illinois State Board of Education got in trouble with the U.S. Department of Education after opting not to test students and instead conduct a pilot of new exams based on the new standards. But not giving exams would violate federal law that requires science exams be given once during grades 3-5, 6-9 and 10-12.

According to University of Illinois at Chicago professor James Pellegrino, co-chair of a national committee on developing assessments for the new standards, “What we’re asking kids to be able to do is to be able to reason more. The questions are likely to be more challenging, but they should be able to deal with them if the instruction is allowed to catch up.”

The state board revealed it is partnering with the Washington, D.C., school district on a science assessment. That district had adopted the new science standards and had done field testing last spring in grades 5 and 8 and in high school biology. According to the article, the district is working on a plan to share test items with Illinois.

Click here to read the article in the Chicago Tribune (August 5, 2015) registration required

Click here to read a companion article that looks at Illinois science concepts, performance expectations

Report Sent to Iowa State Board of Ed Recommending NGSS Adoption

On Friday, July 17, an Iowa Science Standards Review Team submitted its formal report to the State Board of Education recommending adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

According to the state report:

We recommend the Next Generation Science Standards performance expectations be adopted as Iowa’s science standards, grade specific for grades K-8 and grade span for grades 9-12, acknowledging the importance of integrating the disciplinary core ideas, cross-cutting concepts, and science and engineering practices in achieving these standards. The performance expectations are statements of what students should be able to do to demonstrate their learning. They represent big ideas that combine content from the disciplinary core ideas, cross-cutting concepts, and science and engineering practices portions of the Next Generation Science Standards.

Additional recommendations include,

  • Professional development is provided to support the implementation of the new standards.
  • Professional development resources are available for use by any providers, teacher leaders, and users.
  • Time is provided for educators to take part in professional development.
  • The Iowa Core website,, provides access to the corresponding supporting documents of the Next Generation Science Standards.
  • The Assessment Task Force reconvenes as soon as the new science standards are approved and new assessments are available for review.

Click here to read the full report

Click here to read an article in the Marion Times (July 23, 2015)



Reports Explores State Approaches in Selecting New Science Standards

A new report by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) looks at the path six states took in selecting new science standards. The report “Common Themes, Individual Approaches: Six States’ Experiences with New Science Standards,” profiles the work of Arkansas, Delaware, DC, Kentucky, New Jersey, West Virginia.

Click here to download the report.