Thinking Science

Nineteen states along with the District of Columbia have officially adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Oregon is the only one of those that has fully migrated through adoption to full implementation of the NGSS standards. Administrators and classroom teachers alike are aware that adopting any new standards and then successfully implementing them is challenging, time-consuming, and costly. Adoption and implementation are merely the first steps in the process, but a big part of being successful is to have good curricula in place with which to teach. It seems we never know what will happen or if implementing new standards will be successful. The recent and continuing history of Common Core Standards adoptions and implementations is a good example to have learned lessons. We look to do what is the best for students, to give them learning opportunities, and to set them on a path for making contributions to society when their formal school days have ended.

I recently spent a bit of time reading about where the gaps are around successfully implementing NGSS. My conclusion is, teachers are not getting the proper professional learning to help them navigate through understanding the new standards. They do not have enough good curricula aligned to the standards for teaching students. Teachers are in an uncomfortable spot because they know that they are responsible for implementation of NGSS, but much of curricula falls short of being NGSS worthy. Because Oregon has more history with NGSS than any other state, we need to take the opportunity to look to them for direction on how to make the right decisions as we follow in their footsteps. We need to create better professional learning and listen to the NGSS organization to understand what good usable curricula looks like.

We will know in the future, but I hope we have not taken a wrong turn on the road to making NGSS implementation a success. My wish for teachers is, they learn and know the standards and have quality science curriculum when teaching science in their classrooms. Just my thinking about science.

One Response to Thinking Science

  1. Implementation is key. I am a teacher in the state of Texas. Our TEKS closely resembles NGSS. Our district’s science department is currently reviewing and rewriting the science curriculum on all levels (Elementary, Middle and High school). This process has been going on for several years. Once the curriculum is in place, sustainable PD will be crucial for new as well as seasoned teachers to comfortably and effectively teach science. The same hold true for NGSS. Knowing the standards, the curriculum and having access to quality PD is crucial for science teachers to be able to deliver quality instructions.

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