standards, curriculum, instruction, and assessment that successfully integrates the three dimensions is an area ripe for research and innovation.
Because standards guide and shape curriculum, instruction, and assessment, the task of integrating the three dimensions of the framework for K-12 science education begins with the development of standards. A major task for developers will be to create standards that integrate the three dimensions. The committee suggests that this integration should occur in the standards statements themselves and in performance expectations that link to the standards.
Standards and performance expectations that are aligned to the framework must take into account that students cannot fully understand scientific and engineering ideas without engaging in the practices of inquiry and the discourses by which such ideas are developed and refined [1-3]. At the same time, they cannot learn or show competence in practices except in the context of specific content. For example, students ask questions or design investigations about particular phenomena, such as the growth of plants, the motion of objects, and the phases of the moon. Furthermore, crosscutting concepts have value because they provide students with connections and intellectual tools that are related across the differing areas of disciplinary content and can enrich their application of practices and their understanding of core ideas. For example, being aware that it is useful to analyze diverse things—such as the human body or a watershed—as systems can help students generate productive questions for further study. Thus standards and performance expectations must be designed to gather evidence of students’ ability to apply the practices and their understanding of the crosscutting concepts in the contexts of specific applications in multiple disciplinary areas.
In the committee’s judgment, specification of “performance expectations” is an essential component of standards. This term refers to statements that describe activities and outcomes that students are expected to achieve in order to demonstrate their ability to understand and apply the knowledge described in the disciplinary core ideas. Following the model of the College Board’s Science Standards for College Success, we agree that “performance expectations specify what students should know, understand, and be able to do…. They also illustrate how students engage in science practices to develop a better understanding of the essential knowledge. These expectations support targeted instruction and assessment by providing tasks that are measurable and observable” .
In this chapter we provide two examples of how the three dimensions might be brought together in performance expectations. The first example is based on a