Update on second and final public draft of NGSS


I just learned from Achieve that the release of the second and final public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is set for the first week in January.  In recognition of the hectic schedules in December and the approaching holidays, the NGSS staff wanted to ensure all educators, stakeholders. and the public had appropriate access to the draft.

I will be sharing more information about the release of the second NGSS draft in the upcoming weeks and I encourage you to review the NGSS draft as an individual or in groups and provide feedback. The National Science Teachers Association has developed an NGSS study group packet to support educators in forming reviewing the NGSS draft.

The NGSS will be completed in March of 2013.  Since the May draft release, the Lead States and the writers evaluated all feedback and worked on revising the standards.  As a result, over 90% of the standards have been revised.  In addition, the lead states charged the NGSS team with finalizing the definition for college and career readiness in science.  The NGSS then went through a second round of revision to ensure the standards supported this definition.

Please stay tuned for more information and encourage others to become followers of the SciTech Framework website.


What teachers of English language learners should know about NGSS and CCSS for math

Last week Michele Mailhot and I offered a webinar for teachers of English Language Learners (ELL).

This webinar addresses the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Math and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), including a brief history and review of similarities and differences with the Maine Learning Results.  Building background knowledge to improve communication between EL and content teachers, the webinar looks at how content teachers work with these standards, build lesson plans and apply the standards to instructional practices. The presentation highlights the MANY similarities between CCSS for Mathematics and the NGSS.   At the end of the webinar we point to a variety of resources that teachers can use to learn more and gain a better understanding of CCSS and NGSS.

The webinar and resources are archived for your use. Please share them with others.

Later next week I will post materials from my upcoming presentation for the Maine Principals Association Conference on March 16, 2012,  “What Every Principal Should Know about STEM Education”.

Assessments of the future?

In September I participated on a panel providing input to the Board on Testing and Assessment (BOTA) at the National Academy of Sciences.  The BOTA and the Board on Science Education (BOSE) are collaborating on a report that will outline recommendations for future science assessments to support the vision of the Framework.

During my presentation, I commented on the viability of technology-based and curriculum-embedded assessment exemplars showcased in the meeting.  I also addressed practical, technical, and psychometric challenges that might arise with the implementation of these approaches.

Whatever assessments we use in the future we will need to carefully consider the purpose for these assessments.  Rosemary Reshetar, Brian Reisner and others outlined for the BOTA some of the purposes of the assessment tools that they showcased during the daylong meeting.  Looking forward states will need to carefully examine assessment instruments to ensure that they are aligned to the vision of the Framework for K-12 Science Education and meet the expectations for formative and/or summative reporting needs.

Assessment should not drive our system BUT it can help it us to break some molds. For example, the integration of technology-based assessments like the ones described during the BOTA/BOSE meeting reinforce the importance of using technology to enhance learning. The integration of these assessments (like the recent NAEP Science Assessments) will push on the system to increasingly use technology to enhance learning. Phil Brookhouse and I will be doing a series of workshops this fall to outline how the MLTI tools can used to enhance integration of the Science and Engineering Practices. Maine is well poised for this integration.

The blueprint of the Framework makes it incumbent on us to produce assessments that look and report differently. This pending report from the BOTA, and its findings, will be critical for moving the Vision of the Framework forward.

I will let you know when the report is released.  For more information, you can watch the proceeding of BOTA/BOSE meeting.

NSTA web seminars on scientific and engineering practices

Yesterday, USM hosted the second of two mini-courses on the Framework at the Glickman library.  The rain made it a perfect morning to be inside attending a workshop and once again the turnout was great.  In addition to some insightful conversations about engineering across the K-12 continuum, we had some provocative discussions about the need for professional development support to assist educators to make the transition to the Framework vision.  I keep saying that there are groups around the country working on resources and the information below from NSTA is a great example. This fall NSTA will host a series of webinars on the engineering practices. Science education experts from around the country will be the presenters for these workshop. It is a great opportunity to learn more.  I hope you will sign up to attend.

“NSTA is presenting a series of eight web seminars on the practices described in The Framework for K-12 Science Education, released in 2011 by the National Research Council (NRC).  The Framework describes the major practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas that all students should be familiar with by the end of high school and is being used to guide the development of the Next Generations Science Standards.  

Each web seminar focuses on a particular practice outlined in the Framework (see below) and will provide teachers with information on:

 •       the key elements of the practice;

•       how the practice is part of the broader set of practices that work together (and how no practice is taught in isolation);

•       how the practice can be used in combination with disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts to form performance expectations; and

•       what the use of the practice really looks like in the classroom.

 The practices included in the Framework (and eventually the NGSS) represent current research about how students learn best. Teachers are encouraged to learn more about these practices now in advance of the release of NGSS and begin incorporating them into instruction to provide students the skill sets they need to be successful in learning any content.

 The web seminars will be a valuable professional development experience for any science educator, but will be especially practical for those at the middle and high school level. They will also be helpful for science coordinators, supervisors, state science supervisors and others.

The web seminars are offered free of charge and are designed so that participants can attend just one or all eight sessions.

They will run from 6:30-8:00 pm Eastern Time every other Tuesday starting on Tuesday, September 11.