Paper No. 235-3
Presentation Time: 2:05 PM
CHALLENGES IN DEVELOPING K-8 SCIENCE PROGRAMS ALIGNED WITH THE NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS (Invited Presentation)
A key part of the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is the development of progressive curricular materials that are aligned with not only the details of the NGSS but also its philosophy and intent. Because of the radical departure of the NGSS from previous assessments, constructing such materials is not easily done by adapting previous work but is more likely to be successful starting from the ground up. As the EQuIP Rubric and PEEC Alignment show, however, there are many components to the aspects of three-dimensional learning, instructional supports for all students, and assessments that have to be scaffolded and balanced at all stages. Curricular materials need to move away from being compendia of information and instead be vehicles for promoting active student-centered learning through (1) textual and digital interactivity, (2) continuous formative assessments, (3) problem-based, phenomenon-based, and place-based learning, and (4) mechanisms for helping students develop the metacognitive skills that allow them to mentally organize science content, discern quality, and develop intuitive understandings of nature and the nature of science. At the level of performance expectations (PEs), the NGSS specifies the practice, content, crosscutting concept, and connections to Common Core math and ELA to be included, but at a higher level, tremendous freedom is left to curriculum developers as to bundling PEs, incorporating differentiation for varied learners, organizing grade 6-8 content, etc., even though the NGSS provides helpful guidance on this though its Appendix K, models of PE bundling, etc. There is also greater freedom at a more detailed level, as the PEs do not specify specific content for lessons, instead using the Clarification Statements to provide examples, though, again, the NGSS provides guidance here with its Evidence Statements. A great challenge is the seamless incorporation of engineering and other STEM components, but the greatest challenge concerns assessments because state standards for assessing the NGSS have not yet been developed, so curricular materials can only guess at what they will look like. Examples will be drawn from the new national K-8 hybrid print/digital NGSS-aligned “Elevate” program by Pearson.