Preparing for the Next Generation Standards
Connecticut's K-8 Science Consultant, Liz Buttner, suggests the following steps to prepare to the Next Generation Standards:
The feedback window is now closed for providing comments to Achieve on the 1st Draft of Next Generation Science Standards. Another public draft will be released in Fall 2012. Many of you may be wondering about appropriate actions to take now, while we're awaiting the next NGSS draft. Below are some suggestions:

1. WAIT TO MAKE CURRICULUM CHANGES: It is definitely too early to do "crosswalks" or make decisions about who will be teaching what in science. Many changes will be made to the NGSS Draft before we see a 2nd Draft in late-Fall 2012. The final NGSS will not be published until early 2013, and the state won't make an adoption decision until mid-2013 at the earliest.

a) If the NGSS are adopted, SDE will develop a 3-year transition plan, including guidance for developing curriculum and adopting/adapting teaching materials. Think in terms of developing new district science curriculum during the 2013-14 school year; then reviewing existing instructional materials/kits to determine where they are aligned with the new curriculum and where they need to be revised or supplemented.

b) Science CMT and CAPT will remain essentially unchanged through Spring 2015 (see attached NRC Framework ppt, Slides 28/29). The earliest we expect to see new Next Generation science assessments is school year 2015-16 (or perhaps the following year).

2. DO INCORPORATE SCIENCE/ENGINEERING "PRACTICES" INTO SCIENCE INSTRUCTION NOW - Closely read NRC Framework Ch. 3 explanations of each of the 8 Practices. Begin to alter instruction so these practices are blended with existing content (from CT science standards). The Framework envisions that students will use Science and Engineering Practices to deepen their understanding of Core Ideas and Crosscutting Concepts. Begin to place more emphasis on:

a) developing and using models to explain scientific principles or test engineered designs;

b) constructing scientific explanations and designing solutions

c) making and supporting scientific arguments (claims) with evidence

d) critiquing the quality of scientific data

e) obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

3. DO INCORPORATE COMMON CORE SCIENCE LITERACY STANDARDS INTO SCIENCE INSTRUCTION NOW  (close readings of complex information text, and scientific writing) - see Reading and Writing Standards for Science Literacy on pp. 62-66 of Common Core ELA Standards) - also see attached slides. These are NOT science standards; and they are not intended to imply that science is learned by reading instead of doing. However, reading and writing are indispensable components of doing science (see NRC Framework, Ch. 3, Practice 8). The science content and practices are the primary focus, and these continue to be derived from science standards documents.

The changes called for by Common Core and NGSS will take years to implement effectively in all classrooms. Have the courage to be patient, but not complacent. Now is the right time to work on a thoughtful, realistic long-term plan to help teachers and students transition to new ways of learning.

The draft NGSS will be posted at

Below are some suggested readings from the NRC Framework ( Pages cited are from the free download edition and differ from those in the print edition:

Chapter 1: A new vision (all)

Chapter 2: Guiding assumptions (pp. 1-8)

Chapter 3: Scientific and Engineering Practices (pp. 1-6; see pp. 6-32 Goals and Progressions)

Chapter 4: Crosscutting Concepts (pp. 1-2 and pp. 2-13 Progressions)

Chapters 5 - 8: Disciplinary Core Ideas and Component Ideas. Pay CLOSE attention to the Grade Band Endpoints as each sentence within these narratives is a content standard that will appear in the NGSS, and the wording and grade band cannot be changed!

Chapter 9: Integrating the Three Dimensions (pp. 1-2). Explains how Practices, Core Ideas and Crosscutting Concepts will be interwoven to create standards that will be written as learner outcomes.

Chapter 12: Guidance for Standards Developers -13 Recommendations (pp. 297-308)


NSTA now has a new web page dedicated to NGSS Included at the link is a video of Steve Pruitt's presentation at NSTA Indianapolis conference.It's an in-depth explanation of the Framework and the Standards; definitely worth watching.