Next Generation Science Standards
Science and science education are central to the lives of all Americans, preparing them to be informed citizens in a democracy and knowledgeable consumers. If the nation is to compete and lead in the global economy and if American students are to be able to pursue expanding employment opportunities in science-related fields, all students must have a solid K–12 science education that prepares them for college and careers.
Our current standards are 15 years old. Huge advances have since taken place in the world of science and in our understanding of how students learn science effectively. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are based on a framework that supports student learning in three interdependent dimensions: Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas. The combination of these three dimensions of student learning, are the most significant way in which the NGSS differs from prior standards.
Science assessments must also be combined. Students will be able to show not only that they “know” science concepts, but that they can use their understanding to investigate the natural world through the practices of science inquiry, or solve meaningful problems through the practices of engineering design.
Eight practices of science and engineering
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
The Framework describes crosscutting concepts that provide students with an organizational framework for connecting knowledge from the various disciplines into a coherent and scientifically based view of the world.
- Cause and Effect
- Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
- Systems and System Models
- Energy and Matter
- Structure and Function
- Stability and Change
The Next Generation Science Standards writing process began in the summer of 2011, and the final version of the NGSS was released in April 2013. The federal government was not involved in the effort to develop the Next Generation Science Standards. It was state-led, and states are deciding whether or not to adopt the standards.
Learn more about Next Generation Science