FRANKFORT, Ky. (4/10/13) – New academic standards, that identify science and engineering practices and content all K-12 students should master in order to be fully prepared for college and careers, were released today.
Kentucky was one of 26 states that partnered in developing the Next-Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as part of a collaborative state-led process. About 40 Kentuckians, including P-12 science teachers, state science and policy staff, higher education faculty, scientists, and engineers were involved.
The new standards, which have been in development for two years, meet the mandate for new standards in Senate Bill 1 (2009). They are internationally benchmarked, rigorous, research-based and aligned with expectations for college and careers; they provide for deeper understanding of content and application.
“The NGSS will prepare our students to be successful in a global society where being scientifically literate matters,” said NGSS state team member and Rockcastle county teacher Stephanie Harmon.
The new science standards integrate core ideas, key practices and concepts that apply to many areas of science. For example, the disciplinary core ideas of science and engineering are integrated rather than taught separately. However, the engineering design process has distinct performance expectations. Overall, the standards reflect the interconnected nature of science as it is practiced and experienced.
“The NGSS meld science content with science practices in a way that allows students to experience science as a way of knowing and understanding the world around them,” said Ken Mattingly, a science teacher at Rockcastle County Middle school.
The NGSS are designed to:
• provide a rigorous science curriculum for every student at every school
• develop 21st-century skills (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation) that apply to all careers as well as everyday life
• prepare every student for the workplace and ensure he/she is globally competitive
• support the creation of science, technology and engineering jobs in the economy
• equip all students for living in a society that demands an increasing level of science mathematics and technology literacy
“The Next-Generation Science Standards reflect precisely the kind of integration of science and engineering content along with process skills to ensure children develop a strong and practical foundation for success as adults and professionals,” said Joanna Haas, Executive Director of the Kentucky Science Center.
The final standards did not change structurally from draft versions; however, they are noticeably different from the second draft released earlier this year. Based on public input, there are now significantly fewer student performance expectations (assessable components) eliminating those that were narrowly focused or redundant.
There have been shifts of specific concepts to new grade levels and not all concepts are taught at all grade levels in a continuous progression, but concepts build coherently. They do not define a particular curriculum -- that will be up to schools and districts to develop based on guidance from the Kentucky Department of Education.
The standards are aligned with and explicitly make connections to the Kentucky Core Academic Standards for mathematics and English/language arts.
The first reading of the standards is scheduled for tomorrow’s Kentucky Board of Education meeting. The board received an embargoed draft copy of the final standards for review last week. The second reading is scheduled for the board’s June meeting after which the standards will move through the regulatory process.
Currently the Next-Generation Science Standards are scheduled for implementation in the 2014-15 school year with the first assessments anticipated for spring 2015.
Information provided by Rebecca Blessing
Photo provided by SurfKY Graphics
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