Sep 2, 2013
A group of scientists, educators and policymakers released the newest draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) this year, which lay out ambitious expectations for what elementary, middle and high school students should learn at each grade level. These guidelines affect virtually every child enrolled in public school, and advocates say they will revolutionize STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in this country. A Framework for K-12 Science Education proposes a new approach to K-12 science education that will capture students’ interest and provide them with the necessary foundational knowledge in the field.
Read more and watch video of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
Michael Wysession, an author of the new standards and a seismologist at Washington University in St. Louis, wrote this year in the online edition of Scientific American. “Though we live in a thoroughly modern scientific world, our science education structure is now 120 years old.”
Why new science standards? Why now?
Science—and therefore science education—is central to the lives of all Americans, preparing them to be informed citizens in a democracy and knowledgeable consumers. It is also the case that if the nation is to compete and lead in the global economy and if American students are to be able to pursue expanding employment opportunities in science-related fields, all students must all have a solid K–12 science education that prepares them for college and careers. States have previously used the National Science Education Standards from the National Research Council (NRC) and Benchmarks for Science Literacy from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to guide the development of their current state science standards. While these two documents have proven to be both durable and of high quality, they are around 15 years old. Needless to say, major advances have since taken place in the world of science and in our understanding of how students learn science effectively. The time is right to take a fresh look and develop Next Generation Science Standards.