Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 2:35 PM
LEVERAGING COGNITIVE SCIENCE UNDERPINNINGS TO ENHANCE NGSS IMPLEMENTATION
National-scale science education reform efforts have been hampered by highly fragmented frameworks and standards that vary considerably from one state to the next. In an effort to improve the quality of science education across the nation’s K-12 schools, the 2013 Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have been designed to guide states in specifying the learning targets and performance expectations of all K-12 students. The NGSS is designed to reflect the 2011 Framework for K-12 Science Education developed by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences. As teachers, curriculum developers, and assessment experts begin to implement the NGSS in specific geographical and socio-economic contexts, moving beyond an examination of common student misconceptions and reasoning difficulties to delineate the specific cognitive sources of those difficulties, and the specific interventions that can serve as countermeasures, should be a fruitful next step. While geoscience education researchers have already documented challenges in teaching system processes that operate with the space system, solar system, and interconnected Earth systems of the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, and anthrospheres, we are far from a thorough understanding of student thinking in the geosciences. Many of these ideas can be better taught-and tested-by carefully examining the underlying cognitive science including learners’ difficulties with spatial thinking and the nature of geologic time, among others. The NGSS may prove to be useful as a framework for next steps in the cognitive science within the geosciences, and this work may benefit from deliberate collaborations between education researchers, curriculum developers, and those who engage in teacher professional development.