Who is developing the NGSS?
National Research Council (NRC) – independent, nonprofit institution (part of National Academies) which developed the Framework upon which the NGSS is based. (NRC previously developed National Science Education Standards (NSES), released in 1996.)
Carnegie Corporation – nonprofit, philanthropic trust providing grant money to NRC for this project
Achieve – bipartisan, nonprofit organization selected by NRC to facilitate state-led process of developing NGSS based on Framework
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) – supporting NGSS process as strategic partner
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) – supporting NGSS process as strategic partner
(AAAS previously developed the Benchmarks for Science Literacy (BSL), released in 1993.)
NGSS Lead States – 26 states applied to act as lead state partners to support the NGSS development efforts and address common issues related to adoption and implementation:
Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia
NGSS Writing Team – 41 members from across US, includes members with expertise in elementary school science, middle school science, high school science, students with disabilities, English Language learners, state-level standards and assessments, and workforce development. To help ensure fidelity to Framework, the Framework design committee chairs are acting as chairs of NGSS writing team committees.
What is the Framework, and how does this relate to the NGSS?
The NGSS are being developed from a foundational document released by the NRC called the Framework for K-12 Science Education. The Framework drew upon current research in science and science education to provide an outline of the content and sequence of learning expected of all students by the end of high school. The Framework also identified three dimensions critical to this student learning: Scientific & Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas. The final version of the Framework was released in July 2011 and work on the NGSS started immediately afterwards.
Are the NGSS associated with the Common Core?
No, the NGSS is a separate effort from the Common Core State Standards Initiative. However, the NGSS are similar in some respects to the CCSS: the NGSS are being developed through a state-led process, state adoption of the NGSS is optional, the NGSS are performance-based expectations that emphasize deeper understanding and application and are organized by learning progressions. There are also similarities between the scientific practices in NGSS and the practices in CCSS ELA and Math. The NGSS are being cross-articulated with the CCSS in ELA and Math at the same grade levels; the NGSS identify the cross-links to CCSS ELA and Math.
Will the NGSS be assessed by the Consortia?
No, the PARCC and SBAC consortia are being funded by RTTT grants to develop assessments based on the CCSS in ELA and Math only. Currently, there is no RTTT funding for any new Science assessments. NCLB/ESEA has not been altered since its 2002 reauthorization, so the same requirements remain in place for Science: states must have “challenging” standards in Science, and states must administer annual Science tests in each of three grade ranges: 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12. (NOTE: The NRC has recently started developing a Science Assessment Framework that will make recommendations for how to best assess the NGSS.)
Will the NGSS be organized grade-by-grade or by grade ranges?
A mix of the two: The NGSS performance expectations are currently listed for each grade level in grades K-5. However, the NGSS will be grouped by bands for grades 6-8 and 9-12, allowing states to determine how to best sequence or organize them in middle school and high school. However, models will eventually be provided of different pathways by which the NGSS could be sequenced across each of these grade bands (e.g., such as HS courses, etc.).
When will the NGSS be released?
The second (and last) public draft of NGSS will be released in fall 2012. The final NGSS will be released end of 2012 (or early 2013).
How many states will adopt the NGSS?
This remains to be seen, but there is a lot of interest and support surrounding the NGSS. The 26 lead states have pledged to give “serious consideration” to adoption. NGSS-focused meetings by the Council of State Science Supervisors have drawn attendees from over 40 states. The NRC and Achieve are promoting the NGSS adoption as “all or nothing”: states that decide to adopt must adopt the NGSS in its entirety without modification. NGSS Lead States that choose to adopt have been asked to publicly share their transition and implementation plans, including a timeline. Transition and implementation will most likely occur over several years.
What are the three Dimensions in the Framework, and how will these be used in the NGSS?
Each NGSS performance expectation will integrate the 3 dimensions: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas.
Example NGSS Performance Expectation (from First Public Draft) with its Foundations from the Three Dimensions:
MS.PS-SPM.d: Construct an argument that explains the effect of adding or removing thermal energy to a pure substance in different phases and during a phase change in terms of atomic and molecular motion.
Dimension 1: Scientific and Engineering Practices
7. Engaging in Argument from Evidence
- Use oral and written arguments supported by empirical evidence and reasoning to support or refute an explanation for a phenomenon or a solution to a problem.
Dimension 2: Crosscutting Concepts
2. Cause and Effect: Mechanism and Explanation
- Relationships can be classified as causal or correlational, and correlation does not necessarily imply causation. Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems. Phenomena may have more than one cause, and some cause and effect relationships in systems can only be described using probability.
Dimension 3: Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
- In a liquid, the molecules are constantly in contact with others; in a gas, they are widely spaced except when they happen to collide. In a solid, atoms are closely spaced and may vibrate in position but do not change relative locations.
- The changes of stat that occur with variations in temperature or pressure can be described and predicted using these models of matter.
PS3.A: Definitions of Energy
- The term “heat” as used in everyday language refers to both thermal motion (the motion of atoms or molecules within a substance) and radiation (particularly infrared and light).
- Temperature is not a measure of energy; the relationship between the temperature and the total energy of a system depends on the types, states, and amounts of matter present.
Dimension 1: Scientific and Engineering Practices
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
Dimension 2: Cross-Cutting Concepts
2. Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation
3. Scale, proportion, and quantity
4. Systems and system models
5. Energy and matter: Flows, cycles, and conservation
6. Structure and function
7. Stability and change
Dimension 3: Core Content Ideas
LS 1: From molecules to organisms: Structures and processes
LS 2: Ecosystems: Interactions, energy, and dynamics
LS 3: Heredity: Inheritance and variation of traits LS 4: Biological evolution: Unity and diversity Earth and Space Sciences
ESS 1: Earth’s place in the universe
ESS 2: Earth’s systems
ESS 3: Earth and human activity
PS 1: Matter and its interactions
PS 2: Motion and stability: Forces and interactions
PS 3: Energy
PS 4: Waves and their applications in technologies for information transfer
Engineering, Technology, and the Applications of Science
ETS 1: Engineering design
ETS 2: Links among engineering, technology, science, and society