New standards turn students into scientists

The San Diego Union Tribune examines the work in San Diego to work towards new science standards.

“Students will act as scientists under a new set of science education guidelines that emphasize asking questions and solving problems, and the state is seeking input on how that will shape classroom instruction.

The draft framework for California schools outlines the ways that science education will change over the next few years, as the Next Generation Science Standards are rolled out through 2018. The framework is open for public comment until Aug. 29.

Eight California school districts and two charter schools have been testing the new science standards, and four of those are in San Diego. Vista Unified School District, San Diego Unified School District, Lakeside Union School District and High Tech High School are among the 10 organizations throughout the state that have tried the new practices already.”

The framework is available to the public at, and comments can be submitted to scienceframework

Click here to read the full article in the San Diego Union Tribune (July 22, 2016)

Next Generation Science Standards: What Do Lessons Look Like?

Ed Week’s Liana Heiten writes about a recent Commentary by an assistant professor of elementary education at the College of New Jersey about the work to develop lessons that reflect three dimentioanal learning as recommended in the NGSS.

Heiten notes “as of now, there’s little in the way of materials aligned to the NGSS, so most teachers are forced to come up with these sorts of lessons on their own.”

She asks, “What are you doing differently with the NGSS? And where are you getting your lessons?”

Click here to read the blog in Ed Week (July 7, 2016).

Preparing Teachers for Next Generation Science Standards

Lauren Madden, an assistant professor of elementary education at the College of New Jersey, authors a commentary piece for Education Week on how she is preparing future science educators to use the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

“This integrated approach to science teaching and learning may seem unfamiliar, and it certainly requires a shift in planning and teaching for many teachers and schools. But the ideas embraced by the NGSS, such as grounding science instruction in the act of doing science, have long been seen as best practices in education. Many science educators agree that the standards simply delineate what good science teaching looks like.”

Click here to read the full piece in Ed Week (July 5, 2016)

Louisiana to review science standards

Louisiana’s top school board has endorsed a review of science standards in its public schools. The benchmarks used today were crafted in 1997, and they are the third oldest in the nation.

According to an article in The Advocate, a 31-member committee will oversee the revisions with the assistance of three subcommittees. Work sessions are set to start in August, including public comments.

The panel is scheduled to make its final recommendations in February and the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will review the proposed changes in March.

Click here to read the full article in The Advocate (June 21, 2016)

PBS NewsHour Features Next Generation Science Standards

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was the focus of a June 21 segment on the popular news program, PBS Newshour, which included insights from NSTA’s Executive Director David Evans. The program looked at how the NGSS is redefining instruction in science classrooms across the country.

Reporter John Tulenko visited Campbell County in Wyoming. The county is leading the way with standards, which the state has yet to adopt officially. Seventeen other states <plus Washington, D.C.> are already on board, accounting for an estimated 35 percent of public school students nationwide.

“I think that the most important reason for developing new standards is that we have actually learned a lot about the way children learn. And children learn science best by actually doing it,” said David Evans.

So far, there’s been little pushback that has been seen with the Common Core.

David Evans noted that “the federal government and the Department of Education really hasn’t had anything to do with the next generation science standards. It’s really just that simple. There have not been strong incentives and there hasn’t been any arm-twisting.”

Click here to view the entire program on PBSNewsHour (June 21, 2016)

Science standards development lacks rancor of the past 

No heated debates or controversies about climate change have overshadowed the development of Wyoming’s K-12 science standards this year, which appear months away from adoption.

The language on climate change is not vastly different from the Next Generation Science Standards that caused a political storm two years ago. But the process for developing the standards has been more transparent, officials say.

Multiple public comment periods were offered, and the people who developed the standards represent a cross-section of Wyoming, from educators to industry representatives.

The proposed standards are in their final public comment period, which ends Aug. 12. Gov. Matt Mead and the State Board of Education will review comments before making a final decision to adopt or amend the standards this fall.

Click here to read the full article in the Casper Star Tribune ( June 19, 2016)



Caldwell-West Caldwell to Institute New Science Standards

WEST CALDWELL, NJ – Introducing new standards for the upcoming Caldwell-West Caldwell school year, science teachers in the middle and high school levels gave a presentation to the Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education (CWC BOE) at its public meeting on June 6.

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) will be implemented in grades 6-12 next year, and K-5 the following year, according to Scott Klepesch, Director of Instructional Services for the district.

“It has been fifteen years since there was a national look at science standards,” said Klepesch. “These standards are designed to create grade uniformity across the country, and prepare students to be college and career ready, similar to the language of Common Core.”

Click here to read the full article in TAP into West Essex (June 8, 2016)

‘Next Generation’ or not, science standards coming to WV schools

For all the controversy involving the West Virginia Board of Education and the Legislature over the state’s adoption of Next Generation Science Standards, which will take effect statewide next school year, the National Science Teachers Association doesn’t recognize that West Virginia actually adopted them.

NSTA Executive Director David Evans said not labeling West Virginia a Next Generation-adopting state “doesn’t mean that we’re really finding fault with the new West Virgina standards.” He called the state’s new science standards a “terrific improvement” over its current standards, which aren’t based on Next Generation. – See more at:

Click here to read the full story in the West Virignia Gazette (May 29, 2016)

Wyoming SBOE Approves New Science Standards

The Wyoming State Board of Education gave the green light to promulgate new draft science standards aimed at ensuring students are well-prepared while keeping politics out of science classrooms.

The standards review committee worked through different sets of standards, including those previously existing in Wyoming and in other states, line by line to come up with an update to Wyoming’s science standards, which the Wyoming Department of Education says have not seen a significant revision since the early 2000s.

The committee settled on the Next Generation Science Standards as a framework for drafting new Wyoming standards, but altered some of the wording. For example, one NGSS standard reads:

“Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.”

For the new Wyoming draft standards, the committee used different language (MS-ESS3-5).

“Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused changes in global temperatures over time.”


Governor Mead has a 10-day review where he can instruct the agency to proceed with the adoption process, or delay public comment and set meetings with those he feels necessary to garner more information.

After receiving the permission of the Governor to continue with the rule promulgation process, a 45-day public comment period will open. The State Board of Education will then review and prepare statements for the comments of the public. The Governor then has the opportunity to sign the new standards into law after a 75-day review period by his office.

Local school boards, teachers, and district and building administrators control implementation of the state standards, including curriculum choices and instructional methods.

Click here to read the full story from KOWB Radio (May 20, 2016)

New science test coming in 2018 for Oregon

Oregon has new science standards and plans to roll out a new science test in 2018.

The Next Generation Science Standards were developed by 26 states, and 18 have signed on to use them. They were adopted in Oregon in 2014 and are being phased in now. Just as important as content are methods of scientific inquiry and cross-cutting concepts such as cause and effect or stability and change. The standards also emphasize hands-on learning.

According to  Derek Brown, director of assessment at the Oregon Department of Education, “Because there is the expectation of higher-level thinking skills and the opportunity for students to demonstrate what they know, we would expect that the test would be more than a straight multiple-choice test, which is what we have now.”

Click here to read the full story in The Bulletin (May 8, 2016)