The performance bar has been set and continually advances as American students are prepared to develop essential comprehension, critical thinking, and communication skills to ultimately compete in college and the marketplace: domestically and internationally. In a nutshell, education standards persistently evolve and facilitate improvements to produce globally-competitive learners.
Subsequently, expectations are high as new Common Core science standards, called Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), have been drafted by a consortium of national science-based organizations for implementation in March 2013. A panel of scientists, engineers, and science educators—with expertise in teaching and learning, curriculum, assessment and education policy—has endorsed a framework for pupils to achieve desired educational outcomes by graduation.
American students are considerably less globally competitive for careers in an increasingly vast science and technology industry. This realization is primarily due to a shortfall in science education. In July 2011, The National Research Council (NRC) released A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas. This document serves as a baseline to help educators and student advocates understand what a strong, quality science education encompasses.
The NRC’s outline captures eight scientific and engineering practices which students should experience during their K–12 education:
- Asking questions and defining problems;
- Developing and using models;
- Planning and carrying out investigations;
- Analyzing and interpreting data;
- Using mathematics, information and computer technology, and computational thinking;
- Constructing explanations and designing solutions;
- Engaging in argument from evidence; and
- Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.
Approximately 20 states have been positioned as chief state partners to lead the adoption of the NGSS. As lead partners, participating states will implement these new science standards established as models for all states. A list of lead state partners can be found here.
These new state-led standards are designed to launch a continuation in sustainable, high quality science instruction. For that reason, demonstrated competence in the Common Core science standards will be mandatory for science teachers. All science instructors will be required to satisfy knowledge and performance indicators in at least one of the following designated science areas: biology; chemistry; earth/space science; environmental science; physics; and engineering, technology, and applications of science.