SEIZING AN OPPORTUNITY WITH CAREFULLY DESIGNED GEOSCIENCE EDUCATION PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
In the race to "align" instructional materials with the NGSS a rubber stamp must be avoided, and instead, careful vetting is necessary. The Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (NRC, 2011) set the groundwork for the creation of the NGSS, which then melded the three dimensions (science and engineering practices, cross-cutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas) into the performance expectations within the standards. When instructional materials are aligned, assessment for the explicit integration of all three dimensions must be included if the materials are to be truly aligned. The NGSS team is designing an instructional material alignment rubric to be used in the vetting process. Once the rubric has been created it will be a tool used by anyone creating instructional materials, and once an educator understands how to use the rubric and how to interpret the rubric score, it will increase the likelihood that the NGSS will be implemented with fidelity. As much as it is a challenge to identify instructional materials that "align" with the NGSS, it will be more of a challenge to design and implement appropriate professional development to assist our science educators with the integration of the NGSS into their classrooms.