For States, By States
Volume 1: The Standards—Arranged by Disciplinary Core Ideas and by Topics
NGSS Lead States
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-27227-8
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-27227-0
Library of Congress Control Number: 2013939525
Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States is published as a two-volume set:
Volume 1: The Standards—Arranged by Disciplinary Core Ideas and by Topics
Volume 2: Appendixes
Additional copies of this publication are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu.
© Copyright 2013 by Achieve, Inc. All rights reserved.
All sections entitled “Disciplinary Core Ideas” in Volume 1 are reproduced verbatim from A Framework for K–12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
|is a registered trademark of Achieve, Inc., on behalf of the lead states and partners.|
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this volume are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academy of Sciences or its affiliated institutions.
Printed in the United States of America
Suggested citation: NGSS Lead States. 2013. Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
Cover Photo Credits
Clockwise, from top right: Elementary school age boy with magnifying glass, ©iStock/fstop123; Tungurahua volcano eruption, ©iStock/Elena Kalistratova; High school students, ©iStock/Christopher Futcher; Sunrise, ©iStock/alxpin; Students in biology lab, ©iStock/fstop123; Buttercup stem, ©iStock/Oliver Sun Kim
VOLUME 1: THE STANDARDS—ARRANGED BY DISCIPLINARY CORE IDEAS AND BY TOPICS
The contents of the second volume of this two-volume publication are listed below.
VOLUME 2: APPENDIXES
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), authored by a consortium of 26 states facilitated by Achieve, Inc., are the culmination of a 3-year, multi-step process jointly undertaken by the National Research Council (NRC), the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve, Inc., with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
The NRC, the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), began the process by releasing A Framework for K–12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas in July 2011. The Framework, authored by a committee of 18 individuals who are nationally and internationally known in their respective fields, describes a new vision for science education rooted in scientific evidence and outlines the knowledge and skills that all students need to learn from kindergarten through the end of high school. It is the foundational document for the NGSS.
Following release of the Framework, the consortium of 26 lead partner states, working with a team of 41 writers with expertise in science and science education and facilitated by Achieve, Inc., began the development of rigorous and internationally benchmarked science standards that are faithful to the Framework. As part of the development process, the standards underwent multiple reviews, including two public drafts, allowing anyone interested in science education an opportunity to inform the content and organization of the standards. Thus the NGSS were developed through collaboration between states and other stakeholders in science, science education, higher education, business, and industry.
As partners in this endeavor, the NAS, NAE, NRC, and the National Academies Press (NAP) are deeply committed to the NGSS initiative. While this document is not the product of an NRC expert committee, the final version of the standards was reviewed by the NRC and was found to be consistent with the Framework. These standards, built on the Framework, are essential for enhancing learning for all students and should enjoy the widest possible dissemination, given the vital national importance of high-quality education. That is why we decided to publish the NGSS through the NAP, a unit otherwise solely dedicated to publishing the work of this institution.
The NGSS represent a crucial step forward in realizing the Framework’s vision for science education in classrooms throughout our nation. The standards alone, however, will not create high-quality learning opportunities for all students. Numerous changes are now required at all levels of the K–12 education system so that the standards can lead to improved science teaching and learning, including modifications to curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional preparation and development for teachers. The scientific and science education communities must continue to work together to create these transformations in order to make the promise of the NGSS a reality for all students.
Washington, DC, June 2013
|RALPH J. CICERONE||CHARLES M. VEST||HARVEY V. FINEBERG|
|National Academy of Sciences||National Academy of Engineering||Institute of Medicine|
|National Research Council||National Research Council|
In accordance with the procedures approved by the Executive Office of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) at the National Research Council (NRC), the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were reviewed in early 2013 by individuals chosen for their technical expertise and familiarity with the Research Council’s 2011 report A Framework for K–12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (Framework). The purpose of the review was to evaluate whether the NGSS, as developed during a two year process by 26 lead states under the guidance of Achieve, Inc., remained consistent with the Framework, which was intended to provide the scientific consensus upon which to base new K–12 science standards. The developers of the NGSS used the Framework as the basis for their work in terms of developing both the structure and content of the standards. The NRC asked reviewers to direct their comments to three points:
- Are the NGSS consistent with the vision for K–12 science education presented in the Framework?
- To what extent do the NGSS follow the specific recommendations for standards developers put forward by the Framework committee (see Chapter 12 of the Framework)?
- For consistency with the Framework, are other changes needed?
The review process determined that the NGSS, released to the public in April of 2013 and published in this volume, are consistent with the content and structure of the Framework.
The following individuals participated in the review of the NGSS: Philip Bell, Professor of the Learning Sciences, The Geda and Phil Condit Professor of Science and Math Education, University of Washington; Rodolfo Dirzo, Bing Professor in Ecology, Department of Biology, Stanford University; Kenji Hakuta, Professor of Education, School of Education, Stanford University; Kim A. Kastens, Lamont Research Professor and Adjunct Full Professor, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University; Jonathan Osborne, Shriram Family Professor of Science Education, Graduate School of Education, Stanford University; Brian J. Reiser, Professor, Learning Sciences, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University; Carl E. Wieman, Professor, Department of Physics, University of British Columbia; and Lauress (Laurie) L. Wise, Principal Scientist, Education Policy Impact Center, HumRRO, Monterey, CA.
The review of the NGSS was overseen by Patricia Morison, Associate Executive Director for Reports and Communications for DBASSE, and Suzanne Wilson, member of the NRC Board on Science Education and Professor, Michigan State University. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of the NGSS was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures.
The Next Generation Science Standards are the product of a variety of groups and stakeholders.
The National Research Council, National Science Teachers Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve were the lead partners in the two-part process to develop the Next Generations Science Standards.
The development of the Next Generation Science Standards was a state-led effort. All states were invited to apply to be one of the lead state partners, who provided leadership to the writers throughout the development process. The Lead State Partners put together broad-based committees to provide input and feedback on successive drafts of the standards. The following states were Lead State Partners:
Major funding for the development of the Next Generation Science Standards was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the GE Foundation, and the Noyce Foundation. Additional support was provided by Boeing, the Cisco Foundation, and DuPont.
Writing Leadership Team
Rodger Bybee, Executive Director Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) (Retired), Golden, CO
Melanie Cooper, Lappan Phillips Professor of Science Education and Professor of Chemistry, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Richard A. Duschl, Waterbury Chair Professor of Secondary Education, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
Danine Ezell, San Diego Unified School District and San Diego County Office of Education (Retired), San Diego, CA
Joe Krajcik, Director, CREATE for STEM Institute and Professor, Science Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Okhee Lee, Professor, Science Education and Diversity and Equity, New York University, New York, NY
Ramon Lopez, Professor of Physics, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
Brett Moulding, Director, Utah Partnership for Effective Science Teaching and Learning; State Science Supervisor (Retired), Ogden, UT
Cary Sneider, Associate Research Professor, Portland State University, Portland, OR
Michael Wysession, Associate Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
Sandra Alberti, Director of Field Impact, Student Achievement Partners, New York, NY
Carol Baker, Science and Music Curriculum Director, Community High School, District 218, Illinois, Orland Park, IL
Mary Colson, Earth Science Teacher, Moorhead Public Schools, Moorhead, MN
Zoe Evans, Assistant Principal, Carroll County Schools, Carrollton, GA
Kevin Fisher, Secondary Science Coordinator, Lewisville Independent School District, Flower Mound, TX
Jacob Foster, Director, Science & Technology/Engineering, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Malden, MA
Bob Friend, Chief Engineer, Advanced Space & Intelligence Systems, Boeing Phantom Works, Seal Beach, CA
Craig Gabler, Regional Science Coordinator/LASER Alliance Director, Capital Region ESD113, Olympia, WA
Jennifer Gutierrez, Science Curriculum Specialist, Chandler Unified School District, Chandler, AZ
Jaymee Herrington, Science Coordinator, Katy Independent School District, Katy, Texas
Lynn Lathi Hommeyer, Elementary Science Resource Teacher, District of Columbia Public Schools, Washington, DC
Kenneth Huff, Middle School Science Teacher, Williamsville Central School District, Williamsville, New York, Williamsville, NY
Andy Jackson, High School Science Teacher and District Science Coordinator, Harrisonburg City Public Schools, Harrisonburg, VA
Rita Januszyk, Elementary Teacher, Gower District 62, Willowbrook, IL
Netosh Jones, Elementary Teacher, District of Columbia Public Schools, Washington, DC
Peter McLaren, Science and Technology Specialist, Rhode Island Department of Education, Providence, RI
Michael McQuade, Senior Research Associate, DuPont, Greenville, DE
Paula Messina, Professor of Geology/Science Education, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA
Mariel Milano, P-SELL and STEM Coordinator, Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, FL
Emily Miller, English as a Second Language and Bilingual Resource Teacher, Madison Metropolitan School District, Madison, WI
Melissa Miller, Middle School Science Teacher, Farmington School District, Farmington, Arkansas
Chris Embry Mohr, High School Science and Agriculture Teacher, Olympia Community Unit School District No. 16, Stanford, IL
Betsy O’Day, Elementary Science Specialist, Hallsville R-IV School District, Hallsville, MO
Bernadine Okoro, High School Science Teacher, Roosevelt Senior High School, District of Columbia Public Schools, Washington, DC
Julie Olson, Science Teacher, Mitchell School District, Mitchell, SD
Julie Pepperman, Lead Teacher, Knox County Schools, Maryville, TN
Kathy Prophet, Middle School Science Teacher and Science Department Chair, Springdale Public Schools, Rogers, AR
Sherry Schaaf, Middle School Science Teacher (Retired); Science Education Consultant, Forks, WA
Jacqueline Smalls, STEM Coordinator, Langley STEM Education Campus, District of Columbia Public Schools, Bowie, MD
Paul Speranza, High School Science Teacher (Retired), North Bellmore, NY
Vanessa Westbrook, Science Education Consultant, Westbrook Consulting Services, Hallsville, MO
The Critical Stakeholders are distinguished individuals and organizations that represent education, science, business, and industry and who have interest in the Next Generation Science Standards. The members are drawn from all 50 states and have expertise in:
- Elementary, middle, and high school science from both urban and rural communities
- Special education and English language acquisition
- Postsecondary education
- State standards and assessments
- Cognitive science, life science, physical science, earth and space science, and engineering/technology
- Mathematics and literacy
- Business and industry
- Workforce development
- Education policy
The Critical Stakeholders critiqued successive, confidential drafts of the standards and provided feedback to the writers and states, giving special attention to their areas of expertise.
Alaska Science Education Consultants
American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)
American Chemical Society (ACS)
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
American Geological Institute (AGI)
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
American Psychological Association (APA)
American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
American Society of Agronomy (ASA)
The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Arizona State University
Arlee (MT) School District
Armstrong Atlantic State University, College of Education
Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE)
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Association of Presidential Awardees in Science Teaching (APAST)
Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU)
Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP)
Big Hollow (IL) School District #38, Big Hollow Middle School
Big Horn (WY) County School District #3, Greybull High School
Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS)
Boise State University
Brigham Young University, Department of Teacher Education
California Polytechnic State University
California Science Project
California State University Fullerton
California State University San Bernardino
California State University San Marcos
Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)
Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE)
Central Kitsap (WA) School District
Central Michigan University
Champaign (IL) Unit 4 School District, Curriculum Center
Chicago State University
The City College of New York
The City University of New York (CUNY)
Clark County School District
Cleveland (OH) Metropolitan Schools
Columbia University, Center for Environmental Research and Conservation
Columbia University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Columbia University Teachers College
Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA)
The Concord Consortium
Cornell University, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Cornell University, Paleontological Research Institution
Crop Science Society of America (CSSA)
Cumberland (RI) School Department, Joseph L. McCourt Middle School
Delran Township School District
District of Columbia Public Schools, Cardozo High School
Drexel University, School of Education
Duke University, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Eastern Oregon University, College of Education
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC)
E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, Washington, DC
Federation of Associations in Brain and Behavioral Sciences (FABBS)
Findlay City (OH) Schools
Florida Atlantic University
Frenship (TX) Independent School District, Frenship Middle School
Fresno (CA) Unified School District, Yokomi Science and Technology School
George Mason University
George Washington University
Georgia Southern University
Governor’s STEM Advisory Council (IA)
Grand Valley State University
Green Education Foundation
Greene County (TN) Schools
Greenhills School (MI)
Guilford County (NC) Schools, Gibson Elementary
Hallsville R-IV (MO) School District
Hawaii Technology Academy
Heber Springs (AR) School District, Heber Springs High School
Helios Education Foundation
Houston Independent School District
Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
International Technology and Engineering Education Association (ITEEA)
Iowa Area Education Agency 267
Iowa Mathematics and Science Education Partnership
James Madison University
Kappa Delta Pi
Knowledge Without Borders
Kuna (ID) School District, Kuna High School
Ladue (IL) School District, Ladue Middle School
Lawrence Hall of Science
Lexington (IL) Community Unit School District #7
Louisiana State University
Lowndes County (GA) Schools, Lowndes High School
Marshall University, June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development
Mercer County (WV) Schools, Bluefield High School
Mesa (AZ) Public Schools
Metropolitan Nashville (TN) Public Schools, John Early Museum Magnet Middle School
Michigan State University, Department of Teacher Education
Michigan Technological University, Center for Water and Society
Michigan Technological University, Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society
Middle Tennessee State University
Mississippi Bend (IA) Area Education Agency
Mississippi State University, Department of Leadership and Foundations
Missouri Botanical Garden
Monroe #2 Orleans BOCES Elementary Science Program
Moraine Valley Community College
Morehead State University
Mount Holyoke College, Department of Physics
Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon, GA
Museum of Science, Boston
National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)
National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT)
National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT)
National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST)
National Association of State Science and Math Coalitions (NASSMC)
National Center for Science Education
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA)
National Education Association (NEA)
National Geographic Society
National Marine Educators Association (NMEA)
National Middle Level Science Teachers Association (NMLSTA)
National School Boards Association
National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA)
National Science Foundation
National Science Resources Center (NSRC)
National Society of Hispanic Physicists (NSHP)
The Nature Conservancy
Nebraska Religious Coalition for Science Education
New Canaan (CT) Public Schools
New Haven (CT) Public Schools
New Rochelle (NY) School District, Columbus Elementary School
New Teacher Center (NTC)
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
North Carolina State University
North Clackamas (OR) Schools, Clackamas High School
North Dakota State University, Department of Nursing
Northern Arizona University
Northwest R1 (MO) School District, Northwest High School
Oglala Lakota College
The Ohio Academy of Science
Ohio Association for Teachers of Family and Consumer Science
The Ohio State University
Pacific Science Center
Palm Beach State University
Palmyra Cove Nature Park and Environmental Discovery Center
The Pennsylvania State University
Polytechnic Institute of New York University
Portland State University
Pottsville (AR) School District
Project Lead the Way
Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES – SCIENCE 21
Rogers (AR) Public Schools, Rogers High School
Rutgers University, Department of Earth and Environmental Science
Rutgers University, Graduate School of Education
Sally Ride Science
San Diego State University
Santa Fe Institute
Saratoga Springs Senior High School (NY)
School District of the Chathams (GA), Chatham High School
Science Teachers Association of New York State
Sea Grant Educators Network
Seattle Pacific University, Department of Physics
Society for Neuroscience
Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)
Somersworth (NH) School District, Idlehurst Elementary School
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Spartina Consulting Group, LLC
Spokane (WA) Public Schools
SRI International, Center for Technology in Learning
St. Edward’s University
St. John Fisher College
St. Paul (MN) Public Schools
State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO)
The State University of New York Brockport, Department of Computational Science
The State University of New York Fredonia, College of Education
The State University of New York Geneseo, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Storey County (NV) School District
Sulphur Springs (CA) School District
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES)
Texas A&M University
Texas Tech University
Triangle Coalition for Science and Technological Education
Tucson (AZ) Unified School District, Pueblo Magnet High School
University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Alaska Fairbanks, Institute of Arctic Biology
University of Arizona, College of Education
University of Arizona, Department of Mathematics
University of Arizona, Physics Department
University of Arkansas at Monticello, School of Math and Sciences
University of California Irvine
University of California Riverside
University of California San Diego
University of California Santa Barbara
University of California Santa Cruz
University of Central Oklahoma
University of Chicago, The Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education
University of Cincinnati
University of Colorado Boulder, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Physics
University of Colorado Boulder, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
University of Colorado Boulder, School of Education
University of Colorado Denver, Department of Mathematics & Statistical Sciences
University of Delaware, Department of Geological Sciences
University of Georgia, School of Education
University of Idaho, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering
University of Kansas, School of Engineering
University of Kentucky
University of Kentucky, Marin School of Public Policy and Administration
University of Massachusetts Boston
University of Michigan, School of Education
University of Minnesota
University of Missouri, Physics Department
University of Montana, College of Arts and Sciences
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
University of New England
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Geological Sciences
University of North Dakota, Department of Teaching and Learning
University of North Dakota, School of Engineering and Mines
University of Northern Colorado, College of Natural and Health Sciences
University of Northern Colorado, School of Biological Sciences
University of Oklahoma
University of Oregon, Department of Physics
University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education
University of Puerto Rico, Department of Physics
University of Rochester, The Warner Center
University of Southern Maine
University of Southern Mississippi, Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, College of Science and Technology
University of Tennessee-Knoxville
University of Texas at Arlington
University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Dallas, Science/Mathematics Education Department
University of Texas at Tyler
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Department of Pharmacology
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin-Madison
U.S. Coast Guard Academy
Utah State University
Vanderbilt University, College of Education
Vanderbilt University, Department of Psychology and Human Development
Vermont Science Teachers Association (VSTA)
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Department of Mechanical Engineering
Washington Science Teachers Association
Washoe County (NV) School District, North Valley High School
Wesleyan University, Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science (PIMMS)
Western Washington University
Wetzel County (WV) School District, New Martinsville School
Weymouth (MA) Public Schools, Weymouth High School
Wichita State University
Wisconsin Center for Education Research, World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA)
More than 10,000 individuals provided feedback on the public drafts of the standards, using online surveys to share their expertise, opinions, support, and concerns. The states and writers would like to thank all of these individuals for their time and thoughtful feedback.
The following Achieve science team members supported the development of the Next Generation Science Standards: Stephen Pruitt, Ph.D., Jennifer Childress, Ph.D., Zach Child, Chad Colby, Teresa Matthews Eliopoulos, Antonio Ellis, Molly Ewing, Jackie Gilkes, Tom Keller, Jean Slattery, Ed.D. (until September 2012), Jenny Taylor, Hans Voss, Sharon Welch (until June 2012), and Becca Wittenstein. The development was also supported by Achieve leadership, Mike Cohen and Sandy Boyd.
Thank you to Jason Zimba and Sue Pimentel for their work on the Common Core State Standards appendixes.
Thank you to Okhee Lee and her team consisting of Emily Miller, Bernadine Okoro, Betsy O’Day, Jennifer Gutierrez, Rita Januszyk, Netosh Jones, and Mariel Milano for conducting bias and sensitivity reviews of the standards, and for developing the All Students, All Standards appendix and case studies.
Thank you to Matt Krehbiel, Sean Elkins, John Olson, Mike Heinz, and Peter McLaren for their work on the Model Course Mapping.
Thank you to Nicole Paulson for serving as the editor of the draft standards and supporting documents throughout the development process.
There is no doubt that science—and therefore science education—is central to the lives of all Americans. Never before has our world been so complex and science knowledge so critical to making sense of it all. When comprehending current events, choosing and using technology, or making informed decisions about one’s health care, science understanding is key. Science is also at the heart of this country’s ability to continue to innovate, lead, and create the jobs of the future. All students—whether they become technicians in a hospital, workers in a high-tech manufacturing facility, or Ph.D. researchers—must have a solid K–12 science education.
Through a collaborative, state-led process, new K–12 science standards have been developed that are rich in content and practice and arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education.
ADVANCES IN THE NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS (NGSS)
Every NGSS standard has three dimensions: disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) (content), science and engineering practices (SEPs), and crosscutting concepts (CCs). Currently, most state and district standards express these dimensions as separate entities, leading to their separation in both instruction and assessment. The integration of rigorous content and application reflects how science and engineering are practiced in the real world.
SEPs and CCs are designed to be taught in context—not in a vacuum. The NGSS encourage integration with multiple core concepts throughout each year.
Science concepts build coherently across K–12. The emphasis of the NGSS is a focused and coherent progression of knowledge from grade band to grade band, allowing for a dynamic process of building knowledge throughout a student’s entire K–12 science education.
The NGSS focus on a smaller set of DCIs that students should know by the time they graduate from high school, focusing on deeper understanding and application of content.
Science and engineering are integrated into science education by raising engineering design to the same level as scientific inquiry in science classroom instruction at all levels and by emphasizing the core ideas of engineering design and technology applications.
The NGSS content is focused on preparing students for college and careers. The NGSS are aligned by grade level and cognitive demand with the English Language Arts and Mathematics Common Core State Standards. This allows an opportunity both for science to be a part of a child’s comprehensive education and for an aligned sequence of learning in all content areas. The three sets of standards overlap and are reinforcing in meaningful and substantive ways.
NGSS DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS
The NGSS are based on A Framework for K–12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (Framework) developed by the National Research Council (NRC). In putting the vision of the Framework into practice, the NGSS have been written as performance expectations (PEs) that depict what students must do to show proficiency in science. SEPs were coupled with various components of the DCIs and CCs to make up the PEs. The NGSS architecture was designed to provide information to teachers and curriculum and assessment developers beyond the traditional one-line standard. The PEs are the policy equivalent of what most states have used as their standards. In order to show alignment and coherence to the Framework, the NGSS include the appropriate learning goals in “foundation boxes” in the order in which they appeared in the Framework. They were included to ensure that curriculum and assessment developers would not be required to guess the intent of the PEs.
COUPLING PRACTICE WITH CONTENT
State standards have traditionally represented practices and core ideas as two separate entities. Observations from science education researchers have indicated that these two dimensions are, at best, taught separately or that the practices are not taught at all. This is neither useful nor practical, especially given that in the real world science and engineering are always a combination of content and practice.
It is important to note that the SEPs are not teaching strategies—they are indicators of achievement as well as important learning goals in their own right. As such, the Framework and NGSS ensure the practices are not treated as afterthoughts. Coupling practice with content gives the learning context, whereas practices alone are activities and content alone is memorization. It is through integration that science begins to make sense and allows students to apply the material. This integration will also allow students from different states and districts to be compared in a meaningful way.
THE NGSS ARE STANDARDS, NOT CURRICULUM
The NGSS are standards, or goals, that reflect what a student should know and be able to do; they do not dictate the manner or methods by which the standards are taught. The PEs are written in a way that expresses the concept and skills to be performed but still leaves curricular and instructional decisions to states, districts, schools, and teachers. The PEs do not dictate curriculum; rather, they are coherently developed to allow flexibility in the instruction of the standards. While the NGSS have a fuller architecture than traditional standards—at the request of states so they do not need to begin implementation by “unpacking” the standards—the NGSS do not dictate nor limit curriculum and instructional choices.
Students should be evaluated based on understanding a full DCI. Multiple SEPs are represented across the PEs for a given DCI. Curriculum and assessment must be developed in a way that builds students’ knowledge and ability toward the PEs. As the NGSS are performances meant to be accomplished at the conclusion of instruction, quality instruction will have students engage in several practices throughout instruction.
Because of the coherence of the NGSS, teachers have the flexibility to arrange the PEs in any order within a grade level to suit the needs of states or local districts. The use of various applications of science, such as medicine, forensics, agriculture, or engineering, would nicely facilitate student interest and demonstrate how scientific principles outlined in the Framework and NGSS are applied in real world situations.
• • • • •
In 2010 the National Academy of Sciences, Achieve, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Science Teachers Association embarked on a two-step process to develop the NGSS. The first step of the process was led by the National Academy of Sciences, a non-governmental organization founded in 1863 to advise the nation on scientific and engineering issues. In July 2011, the NRC, the functional advisory arm of the National Academy of Sciences, released the Framework report. The Framework was a critical first step because it is grounded in the most current research on science and scientific learning, and it identifies the science that all K–12 students should know.
The second step in the process was the development of standards grounded in the NRC Framework. A group of 26 lead states and 41 writers, in a process managed by Achieve, Inc., worked to develop the NGSS. The standards were subjected to numerous state reviews as well as two public comment periods and benefitted from additional feedback from the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) and many critical stakeholders at the local and national level. In April 2013, the NGSS were released for states to consider adoption.
Why Next Generation Science Standards?
The world has changed dramatically in the 15 years since state science education standards’ guiding documents were developed.
Since then, many advances have occurred in the fields of science and science education, as well as in the innovation-driven economy. The United States has a leaky K–12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) talent pipeline, with too few students entering STEM majors and careers at every level—from those with relevant postsecondary certificates to Ph.Ds. We need new science standards that stimulate and build interest in STEM.
The current education system cannot successfully prepare students for college, careers, and citizenship unless the right expectations and goals are set. While standards alone are no silver bullet, they do provide the necessary foundation for local decisions about curriculum, assessments, and instruction.
Implementing the NGSS will better prepare high school graduates for the rigors of college and careers. In turn, employers will not only be able to hire workers with strong science-based skills in specific content areas, but also with skills such as critical thinking and inquiry-based problem solving.
A Framework for K–12 Science Education Dimensions
The Framework outlines the three dimensions that are needed to provide students with a high-quality science education. The integration of these three dimensions provides students with a context for the content of science, how science knowledge is acquired and understood, and how the individual sciences are connected through concepts that have universal meaning across disciplines. The following excerpt is quoted from the Framework:
Dimension 1: Practices
Dimension 1 describes (a) the major practices that scientists employ as they investigate and build models and theories about the world and (b) a key set of engineering practices that engineers use as they design and build systems. We use the term “practices” instead of a term such as “skills” to emphasize that engaging in scientific investigation requires not only skill but also knowledge that is specific to each practice.
Similarly, because the term “inquiry,” extensively referred to in previous standards documents, has been interpreted over time in many different ways throughout the science education community, part of our intent in articulating the practices in Dimension 1 is to better specify what is meant by inquiry in science and the range of cognitive, social, and physical practices that it requires. As in all inquiry-based approaches to science teaching, our expectation is that students will themselves engage in the practices and not merely learn about them secondhand. Students cannot comprehend scientific practices, nor fully appreciate the nature of scientific knowledge itself, without directly experiencing those practices for themselves.
Dimension 2: Crosscutting Concepts
The crosscutting concepts have application across all domains of science. As such, they provide one way of linking across the domains in Dimension 3. These crosscutting concepts are not unique to this report. They echo many of the unifying concepts and processes in the National Science Education Standards, the common themes in the Benchmarks for Science Literacy, and the unifying concepts in the Science College Board Standards for College Success. The framework’s structure also reflects discussions related to the National Science Teachers Association’s Science Anchors project, which emphasized the need to consider not only disciplinary content but also the ideas and practices that cut across the science disciplines.
Dimension 3: Disciplinary Core Ideas
The continuing expansion of scientific knowledge makes it impossible to teach all the ideas related to a given discipline in exhaustive detail during the K–12 years. But given the cornucopia of information available today virtually at a touch—people live, after all, in an information age—an important role of science education is not to teach “all the facts” but rather to prepare students with sufficient core knowledge so that they can later acquire additional information on their own. An education focused on a limited set of ideas and practices in science and engineering should enable students to evaluate and select reliable sources of scientific information, and allow them to continue their development well beyond their K–12 school years as science
learners, users of scientific knowledge, and perhaps also as producers of such knowledge.
With these ends in mind, the committee developed its small set of core ideas in science and engineering by applying the criteria listed below. Although not every core idea will satisfy every one of the criteria, to be regarded as core, each idea must meet at least two of them (though preferably three or all four).
Specifically, a core idea for K–12 science instruction should:
- Have broad importance across multiple sciences or engineering disciplines or be a key organizing principle of a single discipline.
- Provide a key tool for understanding or investigating more complex ideas and solving problems.
- Relate to the interests and life experiences of students or be connected to societal or personal concerns that require scientific or technological knowledge.
- Be teachable and learnable over multiple grades at increasing levels of depth and sophistication. That is, the idea can be made accessible to younger students but is broad enough to sustain continued investigation over years.
In organizing Dimension 3, we grouped disciplinary ideas into four major domains: the physical sciences; the life sciences; the earth and space sciences; and engineering, technology, and applications of science. At the same time, true to Dimension 2, we acknowledge the multiple connections among domains. Indeed, more and more frequently, scientists work in interdisciplinary teams that blur traditional boundaries. As a consequence, in some instances core ideas, or elements of core ideas, appear in several disciplines (e.g., energy) (NRC, 2012, pp. 30–31).
Translating the Framework to Standards
States volunteered to be Lead State Partners for the development of the NGSS by way of a state partnership agreement signed by their chief state school officer and state board of education chair. The agreement included a commitment by states to convene instate, broad-based committee(s) ranging from 50 to 150 members to provide feedback and guidance to the state throughout the process. Twenty-six states signed on to be Lead State Partners. The states provided guidance and direction in the development of the NGSS to the 41-member writing team, composed of K–20 educators and experts in both science and engineering. In addition to six reviews by the lead states and their committees, the NGSS were reviewed during development by hundreds of experts during confidential reviews and tens of thousands of members of the general public during two public review periods.
The Framework formed the basis for the development of the NGSS. For the lead states and writers, alignment with the Framework was a priority. The NGSS provide the performances that students must be able to do at the conclusion of instruction; the Framework provides even more detail about the different attributes of the dimensions illustrated by the standards. This section provides brief descriptions of how different components of the Framework were used to develop the NGSS and of the development process.
Development of the Performance Expectations
The real innovation in the NGSS is the requirement that students operate at the intersection of practice, content, and connection. PEs are the right way to integrate the three dimensions. They provide specificity for educators and set the tone for how science instruction should look in classrooms. If implemented properly, the NGSS will lead to coherent, rigorous instruction that will result in students being able to acquire and apply scientific knowledge to unique situations and to think and reason scientifically. While this is an innovation in state standards, the idea of PEs is used in several other national and international initiatives.
The vision for science education in the 21st century is that all practices are expected to be utilized by educators. Educators and curriculum developers must bear this in mind as they design instruction. For the NGSS development, a key issue in developing the PEs was the actual choice of the practices with the DCIs and the CCs, the transition words between the practice and the DCIs language, and the ability of a student to perform the expectation. Due to the nature of some of the practices, they could not usually be used as a stand-alone practice. Often, the “Asking Questions” practice leads to an investigation that produces data
that can be used as evidence to develop explanations or arguments. Similarly, mathematics is implicit in all science. Models, arguments, and explanations are all based on evidence. That evidence can be mathematics. There are specific places where the standards require mathematics, but the places where mathematics is not explicitly required should not be interpreted as precluding students from using mathematical relationships to support other practices. Ultimately, the NGSS balance the practices within the PEs. However, practices such as models, arguments, and explanations are often more prominent throughout the standards in order to ensure that rigorous content receives its due focus.
Disciplinary Core Idea Use and Development
The NGSS were developed based on the grade-band endpoints identified in the Framework. The grade-band endpoints provide the learning progressions with regard to the DCI. Therefore, the DCI grade-band endpoints were placed verbatim into the standards.
The greatest challenge with the core ideas was ensuring a coherent and manageable set of standards. The Framework provides many connections across disciplines that will be very helpful as instructional materials are developed. These connections also create challenges in developing standards. The NGSS present clear actionable standards that are not redundant with other standards, yet preserve these important connections. Standards, by their nature, are student achievement goals and deliberately written not to make curricular connections. The NGSS are written so as not to limit instruction by trying to teach one performance at a time or as the sole instruction.
The other challenge was to ensure a manageable set of standards. The top priority was to ensure coherence and learning progressions. This was accomplished in several ways. First, overlapping or redundant content was eliminated and placed in the area that made the most sense. Second, public feedback and feedback from key stakeholders, such as scientific societies and the NSTA, were used to further prune content that was not critical to understanding each larger DCI. Small groups of educators were asked to review the NGSS for their grade-level/grade-band/disciplinary area with an eye toward ensuring teachability. The NGSS now represent a teachable set of standards based on this review. As with all standards, they represent what all students should know, but do not prohibit teachers from going beyond the standards to ensure that students’ needs are met.
Scientific and Engineering Practice and Crosscutting Concept Use and Development
While the Framework identified the SEPs to use in the standards, the document did not identify the learning progressions associated with them. The NGSS include progressions matrices to identify how the goals for each SEP and CC changes for students at each grade band. The matrices were reviewed and revised during development to provide clear guidance to readers of the document. A great deal of time was taken to ensure that the NGSS writers all had a common understanding of the SEPs and CCs. The NGSS writers strongly encourage states and school districts to do the same.
WHAT IS NOT COVERED IN THE NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS
The NGSS have some intentional limitations that must be recognized. Some of the most important limitations are listed below:
- The NGSS are not meant to limit science instruction to single SEPs. They represent what students should be able to do at the conclusion of instruction, not how teachers should teach the material.
- The NGSS have identified the most essential material for students to know and do. The standards were written in a way that leaves a great deal of discretion to educators and curriculum developers. The NGSS are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all that could be included in K–12 science education nor should they prevent students from going beyond the standards where appropriate.
- The NGSS do not define advanced work in the sciences. Based on reviews from college and career faculty and staff, the NGSS form a foundation for advanced work, but students wishing to move into STEM fields should be encouraged to follow their interest with additional coursework.
- While great care was taken to consider the needs of diverse populations during the development of the NGSS, no one document can fully represent all of the interventions or supports necessary for students with varying degrees of abilities and needs.
ORGANIZATION OF THE NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS
The standards are organized by grade levels for kindergarten through grade 5. The middle and high school standards are grade banded. To initiate discussion of how the NGSS could impact middle and high school after implementation, a set of model course pathways for middle school and high school was developed and can be found in Appendix K.
A real innovation in the NGSS is the overall coherence. As such, the PEs (the assessable component of the NGSS architecture) can be arranged within a grade level in any way that best represents the needs of states and districts without sacrificing coherence in learning the DCIs.
USE OF THE NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS IN CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION, AND ASSESSMENT
The NGSS have been constructed to focus on the performance required to show proficiency at the conclusion of instruction. This focus on achievement rather than curriculum allows educators, curriculum developers, and other education stakeholders the flexibility to determine the best way to help their students meet the standards based on local needs. Teachers should rely on quality instructional products and their own professional judgment as the best way to implement the NGSS in classrooms. The NGSS provide an opportunity to include medicine, engineering, forensics, and other applicable sciences in courses that deliver the standards in ways that interest students and may give them a desire to pursue STEM careers.
Pairing practices with DCIs is necessary to define a discrete set of blended standards, but should not be viewed as the only combinations that appear in instructional materials. In fact, quality instructional materials and instruction must allow students to learn and apply the science practices, separately and in combination, in multiple disciplinary contexts. The practical aspect to science instruction is that the practices are inextricably linked. While the NGSS couple single practices with content, this is intended to be clear about the practice used within that context, not to limit the instruction.
Curriculum and instruction should be focused on “bundles” of PEs to provide a contextual learning experience for students. Students should not be presented with instruction leading to one PE in isolation; rather, bundles of performances provide a greater coherence and efficiency of instructional time. These bundles also allow students to see the connected nature of science and the practices.
Finally, classroom assessment of the NGSS should reflect quality instruction. That is, students should be held responsible for demonstrating knowledge of content in various contexts and SEPs. As students progress toward the PE, classroom assessments should focus on accumulated knowledge and various practices. It is important here to remember that the assessment of the NGSS should be on understanding the full DCIs—not just the pieces.
THE AFFECTIVE DOMAIN
The affective domain—the domain of learning that involves interests, experience, and enthusiasm—is a critical component of science education. As pointed out in the Framework, there is a substantial body of research that supports the close connection between the development of concepts and skills in science and engineering and such factors as interest, engagement, motivation, persistence, and self-identity. Comments about the importance of affective education appear throughout the Framework. For example:
Research suggests that personal interest, experience, and enthusiasm—critical to children’s learning of science at school or in other settings—may also be linked to later educational and career choices. (p. 28)
Discussions involving the history of scientific and engineering ideas, of individual practitioners’ contributions, and of the applications of these endeavors are important components of a science and engineering curriculum. For many students, these aspects are the pathways that capture their interest in these fields and build their identities as engaged and capable learners of science and engineering. (p. 249)
Learning science depends not only on the accumulation of facts and concepts but also on the development of an identity as a competent learner of science with motivation and interest to learn more. (p. 286)
Science learning in school leads to citizens with the confidence, ability, and inclination to continue learning about issues, scientific and otherwise, that affect their lives and communities. (pp. 286–287)
The NGSS strongly agree with these goals. However, there is a difference in the purpose of the Framework and the NGSS. The Framework projects a vision for K–12 science education and includes recommendations not only for what students are expected to learn, but also for curriculum, instruction, professional development of teachers, and assessment.
The purpose of the NGSS is more limited. It is not intended to replace the vision of the Framework, but rather to support that vision by providing a clear statement of the competencies in science and engineering that all students should be able to demonstrate at subsequent stages in their K–12 learning experience. Certainly students will be more likely to succeed in achieving those competencies if they have the curricular and instructional support that encourages their interests in science and engineering. Further, students who are motivated to continue their studies and to persist in more advanced and challenging courses are more likely to become STEM-engaged citizens and in some cases to pursue careers in STEM fields. However, the vision of the Framework is not more likely to be achieved by specifying PEs that signify such qualities as interest, motivation, persistence, and career goals. This decision is consistent with the Framework, which does not include affective goals in specifying endpoints of learning in the three dimensions that it recommends be combined in crafting the standards.
SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS TO THE NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS
A short summary of the appendixes of the NGSS is provided below:
Appendix A—Conceptual Shifts
The NGSS provide an important opportunity to improve not only science education but also student achievement. Based on the Framework, the NGSS are intended to reflect a new vision for American science education. The lead states and writing teams identified seven “conceptual shifts” that science educators and stakeholders need to make to effectively use the NGSS. The shifts are
- K–12 science education should reflect real-world interconnections in science.
- The NGSS are student outcomes and are explicitly NOT curriculum.
- Science concepts build coherently across K–12.
- The NGSS focus on deeper understanding and application of content.
- Science and engineering are integrated in K–12 science education.
- The NGSS are designed to prepare students for college, careers, and citizenship.
- Science standards coordinate with the English Language Arts/ Literacy and Mathematics Common Core State Standards.
Appendix B—Response to the Public Drafts
The results of public feedback and the responses by the lead states and writing team can be reviewed for all areas of the NGSS.
Appendix C—College and Career Readiness
A key component to successful standards development is to ensure that the vision and content of the standards properly prepare students for college and career. During the development of the NGSS, a process was initiated to ensure college and career readiness based on available evidence. The process will continue as states work together to confirm a common definition.
Appendix D—“All Standards, All Students”
The NGSS are being developed at a historic time when major changes in education are occurring at the national level. Student demographics are changing rapidly, while science achievement gaps persist. Because the NGSS make high cognitive demands of all students, teachers must shift instruction to enable all students to meet the requirements for college and career readiness.
This appendix highlights implementation strategies that are grounded in theoretical or conceptual frameworks. It consists of three parts. First, it discusses both learning opportunities and challenges, which NGSS present to student groups that have traditionally been underserved in science classrooms. Second, it describes research-based strategies for effective implementation of the
NGSS in science classrooms, schools, homes, and communities. Finally, it provides the context for student diversity by addressing changing demographics, persistent achievement gaps, and education policies affecting non-dominant student groups.
Appendix E—Disciplinary Core Idea Progressions
The NGSS have been developed in learning progressions based on the progressions identified by the grade-band endpoints in the Framework. Short narrative descriptions of the progressions are presented for each DCI in each of the traditional sciences. These progressions were used in the college- and career-readiness review to determine the depth of understanding expected for each idea before leaving high school.
Appendix F—Science and Engineering Practices
The Framework identifies eight SEPs that mirror the practices of professional scientists and engineers. Use of the practices in the PEs is not only intended to strengthen students’ skills in these practices but also to develop students’ understanding of the nature of science and engineering. Listed below are the SEPs from the Framework:
- Asking questions and defining problems
- Developing and using models
- Planning and carrying out investigations
- Analyzing and interpreting data
- Using mathematics and computational thinking
- Constructing explanations and designing solutions
- Engaging in argument from evidence
- Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
The Framework does not specify grade-band endpoints for the SEPs, but instead provides a summary of what students should know by the end of grade 12 and a hypothetical progression for each. The NGSS use constructed grade-band endpoints for the SEPs that are based on these hypothetical progressions and grade 12 endpoints. These representations of the SEPs appear in the NGSS and supporting foundation boxes. A complete listing of the specific SEPs used in the NGSS is provided in the document.
Appendix G—Crosscutting Concepts
The Framework also identifies seven CCs intended to give students an organizational structure to understand the world and help students make sense of and connect DCIs across disciplines and grade bands. They are not intended as additional content. Listed below are the CCs from the Framework:
- Cause and Effect
- Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
- Systems and System Models
- Energy and Matter in Systems
- Structure and Function
- Stability and Change of Systems
As with the SEPs, the Framework does not specify grade-band endpoints for the CCs, but instead provides a summary of what students should know by the end of grade 12 and a hypothetical progression for each. To assist with writing the NGSS, grade-band endpoints were constructed for the CCs that are based on these hypothetical progressions and grade 12 endpoints. These representations of the CCs appear in the NGSS and supporting foundation boxes. A complete listing of the specific CCs used in the NGSS is shown in the document.
Appendix H—Understanding the Scientific Enterprise: The Nature of Science
Based on the public and state feedback, as well as feedback from key partners such as NSTA, steps were taken to make the “Nature of Science” more prominent in the PEs. It is important to note that while the nature of science was reflected in the Framework through the SEPs, understanding the nature of science is more than just a practice. As such, the direction of the lead states was to indicate the nature of science appropriately in both SEPs and CCs. A matrix of nature of science across K–12 is included in this appendix.
Appendix I—Engineering Design
The NGSS represent a commitment to integrate engineering design into the structure of science education by raising engineering design to the same level as scientific inquiry when teaching science disciplines at all levels, from kindergarten to grade 12. Providing students a foundation in engineering design allows them to better engage in and aspire to solve major societal and environmental challenges they will face in the decades ahead.
Appendix J—Science, Technology, Society, and the Environment
The goal that all students should learn about the relationships among science, technology, and society came to prominence in the United Kingdom and the United States starting in the early 1980s. The core ideas that relate science and technology to society and the natural environment in Chapter 8 of Framework (NRC, 2012) are consistent with efforts in science education for the past three decades.
Appendix K—Model Course Mapping in Middle and High School
The NGSS are organized by grade level for kindergarten through grade 5 and as grade-banded expectations at the middle school (6–8) and high school (9–12) levels. As states and districts consider implementation of the NGSS, it will be important to thoughtfully consider how to organize these grade-banded standards into courses that best prepare students for post-secondary success. To help facilitate this decision-making process, several potential directions for this process are outlined in this appendix.
Appendix L—Connections to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics
Science is a quantitative discipline, which means it is important for educators to ensure that students’ learning in science coheres well with their learning in mathematics. To achieve this alignment, the NGSS development team has worked with Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) writing team members to help ensure that the NGSS do not outpace or otherwise misalign to the grade-by-grade standards in the CCSSM. Every effort has been made to ensure consistency. It is essential that the NGSS always be interpreted and implemented in such a way that they do not outpace or misalign with the grade-by-grade standards in the CCSSM. This includes the development of NGSS-aligned instructional materials and assessments. This appendix gives some specific suggestions about the relationship between mathematics and science in grades K–8.
Appendix M—Connections to the Common Core State Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects
Literacy skills are critical to building knowledge in science. To ensure that the CCSS literacy standards work in tandem with the specific content demands outlined in the NGSS, the NGSS development team worked with the CCSS writing team to identify key literacy connections to the specific content demands outlined in the NGSS. As the CCSS affirm, reading in science requires an appreciation of the norms and conventions of the discipline of science, including understanding the nature of evidence used; an attention to precision and detail; and the capacity to make and assess intricate arguments, synthesize complex information, and follow detailed procedures and accounts of events and concepts. Students also need to be able to gain knowledge from elaborate diagrams and data that convey information and illustrate scientific concepts. Likewise, writing and presenting information orally are key means for students to assert and defend claims in science, demonstrate what they know about a concept, and convey what they have experienced, imagined, thought, and learned. Every effort has been made to ensure consistency between the CCSS and the NGSS. As with the mathematics standards, the NGSS should always be interpreted and implemented in such a way that they do not outpace or misalign with the grade-by-grade standards in the CCSS for literacy (this includes the development of NGSS-aligned instructional materials and assessments).
NRC (National Research Council). (2012). A framework for K–12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=131
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are distinct from prior science standards in three essential ways.
1. Performance. Prior standards documents listed what students should “know” or “understand.” These ideas needed to be translated into performances that could be assessed to determine whether or not students met the standards. Different interpretations sometimes resulted in assessments that were not aligned with curriculum and instruction. The Next Generation Science Standards have avoided this difficulty by developing performance expectations that state what students should be able to do in order to demonstrate that they have met the standards, thus providing the same clear and specific targets for curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
2. Foundations. Each performance expectation incorporates all three dimensions from the National Research Council report A Framework for K–12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (Framework)—a science or engineering practice, a disciplinary core idea, and a crosscutting concept.
3. Coherence. Each set of performance expectations lists connections to other ideas within the disciplines of science and engineering and with Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics.
These three unique characteristics are embodied in the format of the standards, beginning with the “system architecture.”
As shown in the illustration above, each set of performance expectations has a title. Below the title is a box containing performance expectations. Below that are three foundation boxes, which list (from left to right) the specific science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts that were combined to produce the performance expectations above.
A note at the bottom of the page directs the user to a specific page containing the connections to other related disciplinary core ideas at the same grade level, to related disciplinary core ideas for younger and older students, and to related Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics. These sections are described in further detail below.
Performance expectations are the assessable statements of what students should know and be able to do. Some states consider these performance expectations alone to be “the standards,” while other states also include the content of the three foundation boxes and connections to be included in “the standard.” The writing team is neutral on that issue. The essential point is that all students should be held accountable for demonstrating their achievement of all performance expectations, which are written to allow for multiple means of assessment.
The last sentence in the above paragraph—that all students should be held accountable for demonstrating their achievement of all performance expectations—deserves special attention because it is a fundamental departure from prior standards documents, especially at the high school level, where it has become customary for students to take courses in some but not all science disciplines. The Next Generation Science Standards take the position that a scientifically literate person understands and is able to apply core ideas in each of the major science disciplines, and that they gain experience in the practices of science and engineering and in crosscutting concepts. In order for this to be feasible, the writing team has limited the core ideas included in the performance expectations to just those listed in the Framework.
The Next Generation Science Standards writers initially attempted to include all of the disciplinary core ideas from the Framework verbatim in the performance expectations, but found that the resulting statements were bulky and reduced readers’ comprehension of the standards. Instead, the performance expectations were written to communicate a “big idea” that combined content from the three foundation boxes. In the final phase of development, the writers, with input from the lead state teams, further limited the number of performance expectations to ensure that this set of performance expectations is achievable at some reasonable level of proficiency by the vast majority of students.
Some states have standards that include concepts that are not found in the Next Generation Science Standards. However, in most cases not all students in those states are expected to take courses in all three areas of science and engineering. The Next Generation Science Standards are for all students, and all students are expected to achieve proficiency with respect to all of the performance expectations in the Next Generation Science Standards.
A second essential point is that the Next Generation Science Standards performance expectations should not limit the curriculum. Students interested in pursuing science further (through Advanced Placement or other advanced courses) should have the opportunity to do so. The Next Generation Science Standards performance expectations provide a foundation for rigorous advanced courses in science or engineering that some students may choose to take.
A third point is that the performance expectations are not a set of instructional or assessment tasks. They are statements of what students should be able to do after instruction. Decisions on how best to help students meet these performance expectations are left to states, districts, and teachers.
In the example above, notice how the performance expectation combines the skills and ideas that students need to learn, while it suggests ways of assessing whether or not third graders have the capabilities and understanding specified in the three foundation boxes.
As shown in the example, most of the performance expectations are followed by one or two additional statements in smaller type. These include clarification statements, which supply examples or additional clarification to the performance expectations; and assessment boundary statements, which specify the limits to large-scale assessment.
Notice that one of the disciplinary core ideas was “moved from K–2.” That means the writing team decided that a disciplinary core idea that the Framework specified for the end of second grade could be more easily assessed if combined with the other ideas specified for third grade. This was done only in a limited number of cases.
Also, notice that the code for this performance expectation (3-LS4-1) is indicated in each of the three foundation boxes to illustrate the specific science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts on which it is built. Because most of the standards have several performance expectations, the codes make it easy to see how the information in the foundation boxes is used to construct each performance expectation.
The codes for the performance expectations were derived from the Framework. As with the titles, the first digit indicates a grade within K–5, or specifies MS (middle school) or HS (high school). The next alpha-numeric code specifies the discipline, core idea, and sub-idea. All of these codes are shown in the table below, derived from the Framework. Finally, the number at the end of each code indicates the order in which that statement appeared as a disciplinary core idea in the Framework.
|Physical Sciences||Life Sciences||Earth and Space Sciences|
PS1 Matter and Its Interactions
PS1A Structure and Properties of matter
PS1B Chemical Reactions
PS1C Nuclear ProcessesPS2 Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
PS2A Forces and Motion
PS2B Types of Interactions
PS2C Stability and Instability in Physical SystemsPS3 Energy
PS3A Definitions of Energy
PS3B Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer
PS3C Relationship Between Energy and Forces
PS3D Energy and Chemical Processes in Everyday Life
PS4 Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information TransferPS4A Wave Properties
PS4B Electromagnetic Radiation
PS4C Information Technologies and Instrumentation
LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
LS1A Structure and Function
LS1B Growth and Development of Organisms
LS1C Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
LS1D Information ProcessingLS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
LS2A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
LS2B Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems
LS2C Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
LS2D Social Interactions and Group BehaviorLS3 Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
LS3A Inheritance of Traits
LS3B Variation of TraitsLS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
LS4A Evidence of Common Ancestry
LS4B Natural Selection
LS4D Biodiversity and Humans
ESS1 Earth's Place in the Universe
ESS1A The Universe and Its Stars
ESS1B Earth and the Solar System
ESS1C The History of Planet EarthESS2 Earth's Systems
ESS2A Earth Materials and Systems
ESS2B Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions
ESS2C The Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes
ESS2D Weather and Climate
ESS2E BiogeologyESS3 Earth and Human Activity
ESS3A Natural Resources
ESS3B Natural Hazards
ESS3C Human Impacts on Earth Systems
ESS3D Global Climate Change
While the performance expectations can stand alone, a more coherent and complete view of what students should be able to do comes when the performance expectations are viewed in tandem with the contents of the foundation boxes that lie just below the performance expectations. These three boxes include the science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts, derived from the Framework, that were used to construct this set of performance expectations.
Disciplinary Core Ideas. The orange box in the middle includes statements that are taken from the Framework about the most essential ideas in the major science disciplines that all students should understand during 13 years of school. Including these detailed statements was very helpful to the Next Generation Science Standards writing team as they analyzed and “unpacked” the disciplinary core ideas and sub-ideas to reach a level that describes what each student should understand about each sub-idea at the end of grades 2, 5, 8, and 12. Although they appear in paragraph form in the Framework, here they are bulleted to be certain that each statement is distinct.
Science and Engineering Practices. The blue box on the left includes just the science and engineering practices used to construct the performance expectations in the box above. These statements are derived from and grouped by the eight categories detailed in the Framework to further explain the science and engineering practices important to emphasize in each grade band. Most sets of performance expectations emphasize only a few of the practice categories; however, all practices are emphasized within a grade band. Teachers should be encouraged to utilize several practices in any instruction, and need not be limited by the performance expectation, which is intended only to guide assessment.
Crosscutting Concepts. The green box on the right includes statements derived from the Framework’s list of crosscutting concepts, which apply to one or more of the performance expectations in the box above. Most sets of performance expectations limit the number of crosscutting concepts so as to focus on those that are readily apparent when considering the disciplinary core ideas. However, all are emphasized within a grade band. Again, the list is not exhaustive nor is it intended to limit instruction.
Aspects of the Nature of Science relevant to the standard are also listed in this box, as are the interdependence of science and engineering, and the influence of engineering, technology, and science on society and the natural world. Although these are not crosscutting concepts in the same sense as the others, they are best taught and assessed in the context of specific science ideas, so they are also listed in this box.
A directional footer on the bottom of each standards page points the reader to a corresponding “connections page” designed to support a coherent vision of the standards by showing how the performance expectations in each standard connect to other performance expectations in science, as well as to Common Core State Standards. The connections are grouped into three sections that include:
Connections to other disciplinary core ideas in this grade level. This section lists disciplinary core ideas that connect a given performance expectation to material covered at the same grade level but outside the presented sets of performance expectations. For example, both physical sciences and life sciences performance expectations contain core ideas related to photosynthesis and could be taught in relation to one another. Ideas within the same main disciplinary core idea as the performance expectation (e.g., PS1.C for HS-PS1-1) are not included on the connection page, nor are ideas within the same topic arrangement as a performance expectation (e.g., HS.ESS2.B for HS-ESS1-6).
Articulation of disciplinary core ideas across grade levels. This section lists disciplinary core ideas that either (1) provide a foundation
*The printed version of the Next Generation Science Standards organizes connections differently than the online version, a decision made by the book publisher after consulting with numerous science teachers and other education experts about which format would be preferable. The online “connection boxes” list the items to which performance expectations connect—either disciplinary core ideas or Common Core State Standards—and provide the performance expectation codes in parentheses following those listed items. The printed “connections pages” take the opposite approach: They list the performance expectation codes in order and provide the items to which they connect—either disciplinary core ideas or Common Core State Standards—after each listed performance expectation.
for student understanding of the core ideas in a given performance expectation (usually at prior grade levels) or (2) build on the foundation provided by the core ideas in a performance expectation (usually at subsequent grade levels).
Connections to the Common Core State Standards. This section lists pre-requisite or connected Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics that align to given performance expectations. For example, performance expectations that require student use of exponential notation will align to the corresponding Common Core State Standards for Mathematics standards. An effort has been made to ensure that the mathematical skills that students need for science were taught in a previous year where possible. Italicized performance expectation names indicate that the listed Common Core State Standard is not pre-requisite knowledge, but could be connected to that performance expectation.
ALTERNATIVE ORGANIZATIONS OF THE STANDARDS
The organization of the Next Generation Science Standards is based on the core ideas in the major fields of natural science from the Framework, plus one set of performance expectations for engineering. The Framework lists 11 core ideas, 4 in life sciences, 4 in physical sciences, and 3 in earth and space sciences. The core ideas are divided into a total of 39 sub-ideas, and each sub-idea is elaborated in a list of what students should understand about that sub-idea at the end of grades 2, 5, 8, and 12. These grade-specific statements are called disciplinary core ideas. The “Standards Arranged by Disciplinary Core Ideas” section of this volume (pages 1 to 162) precisely follows the organization of the Framework.
At the beginning of the process of developing the Next Generation Science Standards, the writers examined all of the disciplinary core ideas in the Framework to eliminate redundant statements, find natural connections among disciplinary core ideas, and develop performance expectations that were appropriate for different grade levels. The result was a topical arrangement of disciplinary core ideas that usually, but not always, corresponded to the arrangement of core ideas identified in the Framework. This structure underlies the “Standards Arranged by Topics” section of this volume (pages 163 to 324) and is offered to those who prefer to work with the Next Generation Science Standards in this form. The coding structure of individual performance expectations in the topical arrangement of standards is based on the same one that applies to disciplinary core ideas in the Framework. Due to the fact that the Next Generation Science Standards progress toward end-of-high-school core ideas, individual performance expectations may be rearranged in any order within a grade band.
|A||Algebra (CCSS Connection)|
|AAAS||American Association for the Advancement of Science|
|AYP||annual yearly progress|
Building Functions (CCSS Connection)
Counting and Cardinality (CCSS Connection)
|CCR||college and career ready|
|CCSS||Common Core State Standards|
|CCSSM||Common Core State Standards for Mathematics|
|CED||Creating Equations (CCSS Connection)|
|CR||Chemical Reactions (Topic Name)|
disciplinary core idea
Energy (Topic Name)
|ED||Engineering Design (Topic Name)|
|EE||Expressions and Equations (CCSS Connection)|
|ELA||English Language Arts|
|ELL||English language learner|
|ES||Earth’s Systems (Topic Name)|
|ESEA||Elementary and Secondary Education Act|
|ESS||earth and space sciences|
|ETS||engineering, technology, and applications of science|
Functions (CCSS Connection)
|FI||Forces and Interactions (Topic Name)|
Geometry (CCSS Connection)
|GDRO||Growth, Development, and Reproduction of Organisms (Topic Name)|
Human Impacts (Topic Name)
Making Inferences and Justifying Conclusions (CCSS Connection)
|ID||Interpret Data (CCSS Connection)|
|IDEA||Individuals with Disabilities Education Act|
|IEP||individualized education program|
|IF||Interpreting Functions (CCSS Connection)|
|IRE||Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems (Topic Name)|
|IVT||Inheritance and Variation of Traits (Topic Name)|
limited English proficiency
Measurement and Data (CCSS Connection)
|MEOE||Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems (Topic Name)|
|MP||Mathematical Practice (Topic Name)|
Number and Quantity (CCSS Connection)
|NAE||National Academy of Engineering|
|NAEP||National Assessment of Educational Progress|
|NAGC||National Association for Gifted Children|
|NBT||Number and Operations in Base Ten (CCSS Connection)|
|NCES||National Center for Educational Statistics|
|NCLB||No Child Left Behind Act|
|NF||Number and Operations—Fractions (CCSS Connection)|
|NGSS||Next Generation Science Standards|
|NOS||Nature of Science|
|NRC||National Research Council|
|NS||The Number System (CCSS Connection)|
|NSA||Natural Selection and Adaptations (Topic Name)|
|NSE||Natural Selection and Evolution (Topic Name)|
|NSF||National Science Foundation|
|NSTA||National Science Teachers Association|
Operations and Algebraic Thinking (CCSS Connection)
|PISA||Program for International Student Assessment|
Quantities (CCSS Connection)
research and development
|RI||Reading Informational Text (CCSS Connection)|
|RL||Reading Literature (CCSS Connection)|
|RP||Ratios and Proportional Relationships (CCSS Connection)|
|RST||Reading in Science and Technical Subjects (CCSS Connection)|
science and engineering practice
|SF||Structure and Function (Topic Name)|
|SFIP||Structure, Function, and Information Processing (Topic Name)|
|SL||Speaking and Listening (CCSS Connection)|
|SP||Statistics and Probability (CCSS Connection)|
|SPM||Structures and Properties of Matter (Topic Name)|
|SS||Space Systems (Topic Name)|
|SSE||Seeing Structure in Expressions (CCSS Connection)|
|STEM||science, technology, engineering, and mathematics|
|STS||science, technology, and society|
Technology and Engineering Literacy Assessment
|TIMSS||Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study|
Waves (Topic Name)
|W||Writing (CCSS Connection)|
|WC||Weather and Climate (Topic Name)|
|WER||Waves and Electromagnetic Radiation (Topic Name)|
|WHST||Writing in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (CCSS Connection)|