The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri

What's "next" for science standards in school?

The creation and adoption of the Common Core State Standards have given rise to science organizations and educators to create “national” standards in science. The National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science came together in early 2010 to begin the development of such standards. They agreed on three dimensions of learning that would be the common thread among the standards- content, concepts, and practices. Eighteen individuals- practicing scientists, nobel laureates, cognitive scientists, science education researchers, and policy experts were selected to head the committees for standards development.

In July of 2010, the Frameworks were released for general review and comment. Since that time, further work continued in order to more clearly define and establish standards. Representatives from many states took part in this process.

On May 11, the final draft of the standards was released to the public for review until June 1. During this time, stakeholders will assign groups to conduct careful analysis of these standards and begin the decision-making process of how or when to adopt these standards. Among these stakeholders include: Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Missouri State Teachers Association, and National Education Association. Each of these groups have certain political and educational influence on the education of children.
You will begin to hear and read reviews and criticism about the standards as the June 1 deadline draws closer. Achieve, another association of states working with the Common Core State Standards, has published a review of NAEP performance and the need for science standards. You can check the DESE site for updates regarding their review work over the summer, and whether the state will adopt them without changes, or create standards from these examples.

The major difference between the Next Generation Science initiative and the Common Core State Standards is funding. CCSS received both private and government funds for the development of standards, and Achieve and SMARTER Balanced received stimulus money from the federal government to develop a common assessment. There are still many questions as to the next step in the process for science; at this time there are no funds being made available directly from the federal government. As more conversations occur regarding these standards, there could be a national conversation in regards to publicly funding the development of assessments for these standards.

Books in our library:
Jump into science : active learning for preschool children by Rae Pica 

Teaching physics with TOYS : activities for grades K-9 by Beverley A.P. Taylor 

Science fair season : twelve kids, a robot named Scorch-- and what it takes to win by Judy Dutton 

Help Your Kids with Science 

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