Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
The development of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is a collaboration between the NSTA, the National Research Council, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve.
In 2009, the National Research Council (NRC) began the development of a Framework for K-12 Science Education with a committee of 18 nationally/internationally known science experts. The first draft Framework was released in July 2010; The final version of the Framework was released in March 2012.
In early 2011, Achieve assembled a Writing Team of 41 individuals to develop the NGSS based on the Framework. Three members of the team are from Illinois and are members of ISTA.
At the same time, Achieve solicited states to become Lead State Partners. These 26 states, who committed to giving serious consideration to adopting the NGSS when finished, are partners in the development in the standards. Each Lead State Partner assembled a team, who reviews and provides feedback on each State Draft of the NGSS.
After the Writing Team revised the NGSS sections based on Lead State Partner comments, the first public draft was released in early 2012. Public comments were accepted and the Writing Team has been working on revisions based on that feedback.
A second public draft is anticipated for January 2013. At which time, a 2 week public comment window will be opened. These comments will be reviewed by the Writing Team with the final version anticipated in March / April 2013.
For a more information on the Next Generation Science Standards, visit the NGSS website.
Illinois and NGSS
Illinois has shown a strong commitment to the development of NGSS. Illinois is a part of the NGSS Lead State process. Twenty six states signed on to participate as lead states providing guidance to the writing of the standards as well as activities related to adoption and implementation of NGSS. In addition, the NGSS Writing Team includes three Illinois educators with expertise in K-12 science teaching and learning. A link to ISBE-NGSS Webpage is http://www.isbe.net/ngss/default.htm.
The development of NGSS is a state-led initiative managed by Achieve Inc. The NGSS are being developed collaboratively with states and other stakeholders in science, science education, higher education and industry. NGSS will be a set of standards that are rigorous, internationally benchmarked and will define content and practices to guide teaching and learning for all K-12 students. The standards have undergone review by state-level committees from each of the 26 lead states.
Post NGSS Release and Adoption
Following the release of NGSS in March, Illinois will convene a state-level review team with the main charge of making a recommendation concerning adoption to the Illinois State Board of Education. NGSS is based on the recently released Framework for K-12 Science Education Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (Framework) that offers a new vision for K–12 education in science and engineering and a significant shift in how these subjects are viewed and taught. Once released, the draft NGSS along with additional resources which include archived webinars, report briefs, and other materials will be available at http://www.nextgenscience.org/.
Illinois Learning Standards - Science
Even as the refinement of NGSS is underway, the Illinois Learning Standards (ILS) – Science remains in place and are the guiding document for instruction and assessment in Illinois classrooms. The Illinois Assessment Frameworks (IAF) also remains in place. The IAF, revised in 2004 and 2005, are designed to assist educators, test developers, policy makers and the public by clearly defining those elements of the ILS that are suitable for state testing. Prior to any change in standards, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) designs and conduct a comprehensive review process to review proposed standards documents. Additional information about ILS is available at http://www.isbe.net/ils/Default.htm.
NGSS Writing Team
The NGSS Writing Team is composed of 41 members from 26 states. Three talented educators represented Illinois as members of the writing team:
- Carol Baker, Curriculum Director for Science for CHSD 218, (firstname.lastname@example.org), the current president of ISTA served on the Physical Science Team.
- Chris Embry Mohr, high school science teacher from Olympia High School served on the Life Science Team.
- Rita Januszyk, a 4th grade teacher, Gower District 62 represented Illinois on the NGSS Elementary Writing Team.
The Framework for K-12 Science Education
Since its release in July of 2011, framework has been widely disseminated among the science and engineering education communities across the United States. This important document was created by the National Research Council (NRC) which brought together a committee of 18 experts in the fields of science and education. The purpose of the Framework document is to guide the writers of the Next Generation Science Standards as well as to provide a vision for all stakeholders what quality K-12 science instruction should look like in order for all students to be successful in understanding science. The link below provides access to the entire Framework document online. In order to download the Framework document as a PDF, you will need to submit a free registration to the NRC Site. Other resources such as The Report Brief are also available at this site. http://www7.nationalacademies.org/bose/Standards_Framework_Homepage.html
The Vision of the Framework
The vision of the Framework includes the following important components leading to a deep understanding of the core ideas in physical sciences, life sciences, earth and space sciences, and engineering and technology: all students by end of grade 12 will have sufficient knowledge and engineering to engage in public discussions on science-related issues; core ideas are learned over multiple years of school; all students will be actively engaged in science and engineering practices; and crosscutting concepts are applied to all core ideas to deepen understanding. The Framework represents the first comprehensive document in over 16 years that addresses the needs of science and engineering education and will serve as the basis for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
The Framework organizes science education around three dimensions:
- Scientific and Engineering Practices
- Crosscutting Concepts
- Disciplinary Core Ideas
These three dimensions are not intended to be taught separately from one another. Rather, they should be integrated in standards, assessment, curricula and instruction. For example, students should use the practices – such as conducting investigations and then analyzing and interpreting the data – to learn more about the core ideas.
Additional presentations about the Framework as well as NGSS are available at the ISBE-NGSS Webpage, http://www.isbe.net/ngss/default.htm.
How To Prepare for NGSS
Effective review of the draft NGSS must begin with an understanding of the Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas. Located under the Workshop Presentation heading on the ISBE-NGSS Webpage, there are two presentations that can be used to guide a professional Framework review conducted in your district or school. You may adapt these presentations to fit the needs of your learning team.
Also, there are several resources available from NSTA such as a series of webinars discussing the practices described in the framework. http://learningcenter.nsta.org/products/symposia_seminars/NGSS/webseminar.aspx
What is Next?
The second public draft comment window closed in late January 2013. Those comments will be incorporated into the final version which is currently scheduled to be released in late March 2013.
For further information concerning the NGSS Review, Lead State Initiative or the collaboration between ISTA and ISBE, please contact Gil Downey, Illinois State Board of Education, email@example.com or Carol Baker, Curriculum Director for Science for CHSD 218 and ISTA President, firstname.lastname@example.org.