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Next Generation Science Standards Now Available

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April 16, 2013

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Next Generation Science Standards Now Available

On April 9, the final Next Generation Science Standards were released. These standards, modeled after the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics, are touted as "voluntary, rigorous, and internationally benchmarked standards for K-12 science education."

The National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve managed the effort to develop the standards along with 26 states. The standards are based on a Framework for K-12 Science Educationdeveloped previously, and "identify science and engineering practices and content that all K-12 students should master in order to be fully prepared for college, careers and citizenship."

Active learning and practice are key themes of the standards, as is an emphasis on critical thinking - all key elements of career readiness. Engineering also plays a more prominent role in the standards, with key science and engineering practices defined as:

  1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  2. Developing and using models
  3. Planning and carrying out investigations
  4. Analyzing and interpreting data
  5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
  6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
  7. Engaging in argument from evidence
  8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

In a blog story that appeared on U.S. News & World Report's website, National Science Teachers Association Executive Director said, "The way I imagine that it might play out is that there will be more hands-on time for students....There will be deeper investigations into the smaller number of ideas, and perhaps even a better opportunity for students to formulate some of the experiments themselves."

CTE educators have long been focused on hands-on, applied learning and students' active engagement in learning, so will have valuable insight to share as the standards are adopted and implemented around the country.

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