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The Next Generation Science Standards, Two Years In

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 -- Shagit Thakkar

Can you believe it? The Next Generation Science Standards are already nearly two years old. At the time of their release, the NGSS were met with any combination of glowing endorsements, biting critiques, and lots of fanfare. Fast-forward to today, and we at Edmentum would like to turn the spotlight on the NGSS and where they stand, two years in.

In 2013, I wrote a post about the then-brand-new NGSS, their positioning in the education landscape, and the various layers that come with that discussion. This year, we’re taking to the streets (or more accurately, the airport).

Over the course of this week, Edmentum will be sending a group of its curriculum experts to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) National Conference in Chicago. As a member of that group, I will be taking on a specific mission: to attend workshops, talk with fellow educators, and in general, tap into the thought-hub that is the NSTA conference to capture the latest on the NGSS.

Here are some of the key topics I am going to explore:

  • Adoption and Implementation: What trends are we seeing? Currently, 13 states and the District of Columbia have adopted. While some adopting states have moved quickly to bring the NGSS to the classroom, other states have opted for a multiyear phased approach.
  • Assessment: Where do adopting states find themselves on their path to developing NGSS-based assessments? What are the latest and greatest best practices when it comes to translating NGSS performance expectations to assessment items?
  • Integrating Science Practices: What are some novel techniques for integrating science and engineering practices with content knowledge in the classroom?
  • Professional Development for Educators: What are the latest trends in professional development for the NGSS? What methods and reference materials are states using for ramp-up?

Of course, the mission won’t be complete until I write part two of this post and share my findings! Stay tuned for my follow-up after the conference.