Support for proficiency-based science education

A Framework for K-12 Science Education (and soon, the Next Generation Science Standards) will lend strength to proficiency-based education efforts in Maine. The NGSS  will help to outline a clearer progression of student learning outcomes. This clarity will support the development of more effective instructional units and make it easier for districts to collaborate on professional development to increase educator content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge.  We know that increases student learning are positively related to an educator’s understanding of the content they teach and their use of effective practices for teaching that content.  Through our MLTI program we can also add further supports for learning by using technology tools that enhance the student learning described in the Framework and NGSS.  This spring Phil Brookhouse and I will collaborate on a review of existing laptop resources.  This review will evaluate how well the tools align to and support the learning outcomes described in the Framework.

Recently Achieve, Inc. announced that they will release a draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for public review.  Achieve, Inc., which led the development of the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics, is currently collaborating with 26 Lead States on the development of the NGSS. Teachers and science education organizations should prepare now for the April release by learning more about the A Framework for K-12 Science Standards.  A one-hour webinar (with Tom Keller of the National Academies) and a six-page brief of the Framework are available to assist you in understanding the Framework which serves as the blueprint for the standards.  These resources will prepare you to better understand the Framework chapters on the core disciplinary ideas, crosscutting concepts, and practices. Achieve will be seeking feedback about the accuracy of their interpretation of the Framework and as well as the reasonableness and clarity with which they have integrated the practices of science and engineering with the disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts.  It is important to remember that Achieve and the Lead States have been charged to represent the ideas outlined in Framework. You can help to ensure that this happens.

During March, I will share more information about the public release of the NGSS.  Invite your colleagues to become followers of the SciTech Framework Blog (https://scitechframework.wordpress.com/) and receive these updates. I expect that the NGSS window for review, like the comment periods for the Common Core State Standards, will be limited to a few weeks. Achieve has encouraged organizations within the states to consolidated their feedback. I am asking organizations within Maine to prepare now to make this happen. Preparing feeback as a group will strengthen our understanding of the NGSS. In addition, I will also work with the Maine Curriculum Leaders and Maine Principals Association to offer webinars specifically designed for curriculum leaders and principals. This is an opportunity to make Maine voices heard. Please join with me in making this happen.

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