In light of the above, it is clear that the Next Generation ScienceStandards (NGSS) represent a quantum leap for global science education projects and trends. In addition, these standards worked to avoid the practical problems of past trends such as the STEM approach. Therefore, it was important to verify the compatibility of science courses in Saudi Arabia with these standards especially with the rareness of studies aimed to evaluate the courses according to NGSS. Previous studies that aimed to evaluate science courses have examined one field of NGSS while the researcher discovers that working on one field of the sciencestandards does not provide a suitable opportunity for comprehensive and in-depth insight into the extent to which the standards are included. It is worth mentioning that some previous studies worked on investigating one field of NGSS, focused only on the secondary stage while there were no studies on the middle stage which is represented as a major starting point of the formation of the learner’s scientific mindset and the most skilled preparation of the specia- lized scientific study as well as the preparation of the learner for the future labor market skills.
Science educators argue that writing can promote students’ understanding of science concepts (Prain and Hand, 1996). Studies of writing during science indicate that writing can improve their recall of science facts and understanding of scientific concepts (Gunel et al., 2007; Mason and Boscolo, 2000) and promote their understanding of scientific questions, claims, and evidence (Wallace et al., 2004). This work demonstrates that writing about science in everyday language, re-wording scientific ideas for different audiences (peers, parents, and younger children), and writing in a variety of forms (letters, journals, and explanations) enhances science learning. Graham and Hebert (2011) posit that writing can not only increase a student’s understanding of the content being The purpose of this study was to examine the design, implementation, and initial outcomes of a collaborative professional development program intended to prepare middle and high school educators to implement effectively the Next Generation ScienceStandards (NGSS) in classrooms with diverse learners. The professional development program discussed herein was designed by a university in partnership with a local school district and incorporated key principles of effective professional development associated with promoting substantial changes in teacher knowledge and practice recommended in the research literature (Darling-Hammond et al., 2009; Guskey, 2002; Reiser, 2013). Topics covered in the professional development included NGSS practices and crosscutting concepts, Universal Design for Learning, and disciplinary literacy. Results suggest that the impact of this professional development program was positive. Feedback from participants was favorable and will be shared as well.
So how is evolution faring in today’s state science stand- ards? There is, thankfully, no explicit requirement that creationism be taught or evolution not be taught in any of the state sciencestandards currently in force. However, that is not altogether comforting, for in general, over the last two decades, creationists have reduced their advocacy of state-level legislation and policy that explicitly endorse creationist claims or attack evolution. Blanket bans on evolution and policies requiring “ balanced treatment ” of evolution and creationism have given way to more innocuous language, such as “teaching the controversy,” “ critical analysis, ” “ strengths and weaknesses, ” “ academic freedom,” and “discussing the full range of scientific views” (Branch and Scott 2009). This is doubtless largely because such attempts have been obstructed by the courts at every turn, but it also reflects a growing creationist understanding that such legislation is not necessary to accomplish many of their goals in the public schools. Most creationism advocates in America are members of like- minded communities, which provide them with ready access to any amount of antievolution material—textbooks, articles, and video programs. Hence, there is no need to recycle or even refer specifically to this material in government policies. An antievolution policy need merely implicitly permit such material to be taught, and creationist pressure at the local level will often ensure that it is taught. Indeed, creationist legislators themselves have frequently made this point. In 2004, the first “academic freedom” bills were introduced in Alabama; Senate Bill 336 and House Bill 391 would have permitted teachers “to present scientific, historical, theoretical, or evidentiary information pertaining to alternative theories or points of view on the subject of origins.” No explicit mention was made of creationism or any standard creationist claims. Nonetheless, a sponsoring state representative explained that “Evolution is one theory, creation is an alternative theory,” while the lead senate sponsor said that his bill “ allows a teacher to bring forward the biblical creation story of humankind.” (Montgomery Advertiser, February 18, 2004). Similarly, the original text of 2008 ’ s Louisiana Science Education Act (enacted as Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1) encouraged teachers
The two states with the most unique and teacher-acces- sible standards and resources are Florida and Pennsylva- nia. Teachers can set search parameters when entering the site- for example, “seventh grade” and “natural selec- tion.” The search will lead directly to the specific stand- ards that need to be addressed and a very valuable list of ready-to-go lessons, videos, and lab activities. Both sites also have links to online websites such as PBS for addi- tional classroom resources. Teachers can put together targeted lesson plans around the state standards since the creators of the state standard websites have done the leg- work for them. We have mentioned that good standards do not necessarily translate into good classroom teach- ing. Offering teachers valuable lessons based on the state sciencestandards is a productive way to help ensure that the standards make their way into a teacher’s daily lesson plans. Any way a state’s department of education facili- tates the process from translating the standards docu- ment into actual classroom practice is helpful.
President Donald Trump’s announcement in June 2017 that the United States intended to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement continues to receive both praise and critique from private citizens, public policy organizations, the scientific community, and world leaders (BBC News, 2017). The decision to pull away from the international agreement was one of several actions that the Trump administration enacted to reduce environmental protections and dismantle climate change policies created and/or continued under the Obama administration (i.e. repeal of the Clean Power Plan) (Friedman, 2017). Although several state governors vowed to uphold clean power standards and comply with goals of the Paris climate agreement, without more significant attention to the issue of climate change the US government will fail to meet the overall goals of the agreement (Plumer, 2017). Moreover, non-compliance will only create more undesirable outcomes across the world, especially within impoverished communities (Provost, 2016). Therefore, as political controversy continues to spread throughout the United States, reformers continue to look towards schools to educate and empower students to tackle climate change in order to alleviate future catastrophe for those in and barely out of extreme poverty (Harmon, 2017). Within this context, this paper explores perspectives that surround climate change education and the implementation of the Next Generation ScienceStandards (NGSS) while calling on schools within the United States to implement curricula that is responsive to the growing threat of climate change.
Abstract Sciencestandards have been a topic in educational research in Austria for about ten years now. Starting in 2005, competency structure models have been developed for junior and senior classes of different school types. After evaluating these models, prototypic tasks were created to point out the meaning of the models to teachers. At the moment, instruments for informal competency diagnosis are developed. The term “informal competency diagnosis” is used to distinguish this kind of diagnosis, which is carried out by the teachers themselves, from nationwide formal competency tests. One of these instruments for informal diagnosis is the IKM (instrument for informal competency measurement). It is developed for the informal diagnosis of science competences in junior classes. This article deals with the question if the underlying construct of the IKM can be supported through empirical data. Therefore the situation of sciencestandards in Austria is described first to illustrate the context in which the development of the IKM took place. Then, the underlying theoretical construct is introduced and detailed information about the diagnosis tool is given. Later, the empirical evaluation of the theoretical construct gets depicted and discussed.
Although the Next Generation ScienceStandards (NGSS) are not federally mandated national standards or performance expectations for K-12 schools in the United States, they stand poised to become a de facto national science and education policy, as state governments, publishers of curriculum materials, and assessment providers across the country consider adopting them. In order to facilitate national buy-in and adoptions, Achieve, Inc., the non-profit corporation awarded the contract for writing the NGSS, has repeatedly asserted the development of the Standards to be a state-driven and transparent process, in which the scientific content is taken "verbatim", from the 2011 NRC report, Frameworks for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. This paper reports on an independently conducted fidelity check within the content domain of astronomy and the space sciences, conducted to determine the extent to which the NGSS science content is guided by the Frameworks, and the extent to which any changes have altered the scientific intent of that document. The side-by-side, two-document comparative analysis indicates that the science of the NGSS is significantly different from the Frameworks. Further, the alterations in the science represent a lack of fidelity, in that they have altered the parameters of the science and the instructional exposure (e.g., timing and emphasis). As a result the NGSS are now poised to interfere with widely desired science education reform and improvement. This unexpected finding affords scientists, educators, and professional societies with an opportunity, if not a professional obligation, to engage in positively impacting the quality of science education by conducting independent fidelity checks across other disciplines. This could provide a much needed formal support and guidance to schools, teachers, curriculum developers, and assessment providers.
This study of sciencestandards of all 50 states and 1958 American early adolescents asked whether there is agreement among states about a science topic, lunar phases, that appears in all recent national standards documents, is of cultural significance, and has been widely studied for misconceptions held by children and adults. Secondly, we asked whether there is a significant correlation between what students know about lunar phase ideas which appear in state standards and the degree to which states value those ideas. Data about student knowledge was collected from a volunteer sample of early adolescents by a forced-choice, online test, the questions of which corresponded to 24 lunar phase ideas found among published state sciencestandards. States were found not to be in agreement about what early adolescent students should learn about lunar phases, although all but one state expected students to learn something about lunar phases. Also, there was not a significant correlation between the number of students who could successfully answer questions about the states' various lunar phase standards and the number of states that had standards addressing those ideas. If the issue of lunar phases is representative of American sciencestandards, states are not in agreement about what students should learn about science and students do not necessarily know the ideas, which more states value.
Interactions were a concern to the intervention students. Moore (1991) discusses how differences in geography can lead to transactional distance and the need for teacher dialogue and course design to overcome this barrier to learning. Intervention students may have recognized this transactional distance when participating in the study. One goal of the introductions was to provide a format to explain the laboratories to students and allow them to interact with the content and ask questions of the teacher before completing the laboratories. Before taking the class, 62% of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they would like to study science in an online format. After taking the class, only 41% agreed or strongly agreed that they had liked studying science online. The top reasons students gave for not liking science online was that they missed face-to-face interactions (47%). Therefore, students recognized the lack of face-to-face interactions in online courses as a negative factor. However, introductions to help familiarize students with content, procedures, and two focus NGSS SEPs did not encourage students to interact more with the instructor and did not help fill student needs for student-teacher interactions.
A major challenge for ELA educators is that these new standards encompass a larger scope of knowledge from the development of language and literacies skills in literature as well as development of literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects (CCSSI, 2010). Students are expected to evaluate arguments, "introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences the claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence" (CCSSI, 2010, p. 64) in a variety of content areas. In an observational study of 31 high school ELA classrooms focused on the practice of argumentation in writing, Newell, VanderHeide, and Olsen (2014) found that there was great variability across how teachers conceptualized argumentation in their high school classrooms. They found three argumentative epistemologies (i.e. structural, ideational, and social) that were socially constructed from interactions and student talk around tasks intended to develop literacy knowledge and student practice on the argumentative process (Newell et al., 2014). Depending on the content of the knowledge and the goals of the task, ELA teachers will need to be versed in the nature and sources of knowledge and use the tools of discourse to shape classroom epistemology (Nystrand & Graff, 2001). Teaching argumentation in ELA classrooms is a complex and challenging endeavor. Students need to be able to discern the various types of evidence found in literary and expository texts, evaluate and assess the author's claims, reasoning and evidence, and in turn, make their own claims and assertions supported by textual evidence and justifications. Nystrand and Graff (2001) found that the "epistemology fostered by classroom talk and other activities was inimical to the complex rhetoric the teacher was trying to develop and encourage students to write arguments" (p. 479). The culture of the classroom, the shift from treating knowledge as a fixed enterprise to one that is generative and co- constructed, and the cognitive demand of this work make the teaching of argumentation challenging for many teachers.
We asked the following question: does edTPA commentary provide evidence of NGSS scientific and engineering practices? For our inquiry, we analyzed edTPA planning, instruction, and assessment practice commentaries written by preservice science teachers for evidence of NGSS scientific and engineering practices. These commentaries are candidate reflections in response to edTPA prompts. An evidence-based understanding of the content linkages between NGSS scientific and engineering practices and edTPA commentaries may help prospective teachers prepare to implement the NGSS in K-12 settings. If science teacher educators understand which NGSS science and engineering practices are evidenced in the written commentaries, this understanding can be used to inform preservice science teacher curricular decisions. For example, the crosswalk may indicate specific NGSS topical areas that need to be addressed at another point in the preparation program or during a new teacher’s induction years. For clarity, we will provide a brief explanation of the science and engineering practices in the NGSS (NGSS Lead States, 2013b), edTPA’s design, and the initial NGSS and edTPA Crosswalk (Brownstein et al., 2015). Subsequent sections of the article describe the qualitative, constant comparative methodology; the results of the commentary content linkage analysis; a discussion of the interpreted results in relation to existing literature; and the implications for science teacher educators and the teacher education profession.
Research suggests deep conceptual learning (DCL) is distinctly different than surface learning. Deep conceptual learners tend to think, discuss, and question more, seeking to understand rather than only memorize. A commonality of the Common Core standards in mathematics and the Next Generation ScienceStandards is greater focus on depth by rejecting superficial survey curricula. These new approaches will require teacher professional development. The Interconnected Model of Teacher Professional Growth describes domains influencing teacher enactment of new initiatives. Information about teachers and administrators’ Personal Domains and Domains of Practice were gathered and analyzed through an adaptive questionnaire on mathematics and science education at the middle school and high school levels. Questionnaire items included the extent to which DCL methods are put into practice, the perceived importance of DCL, the status of DCL in schools, and which instructional methods embody DCL. Survey results (N= 425) indicate respondents believe that DCL is very important for preparing students for careers and college. Both administrators and teachers generally believe that DCL is very important for mastering the new standards and there was strong agreement that (a) the learning environment influences student DCL behaviors and (b) DCLs are more likely to become lifelong learners.
The Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC, 2012) and Next Generation ScienceStandards (NGSS Lead States, 2013) stress that in addition to disciplinary core ideas (content), students need to engage in the practices of science and develop an understanding of the crosscutting concepts such as cause and effect, systems, and scientific modeling. In response to these reform suggestions we developed an educational tool to be used to help teach students about models and the marine food chain. Our research was the validation of the tool as a legitimate instructional device. The research reported here outlines the process and provides science teacher and science teachers educators with an alternative for teaching this topic.
A Framework for K-12 Science Education, the foundation for the Next Generation ScienceStandards (NGSS), identifies scientific explanation as one of the eight practices “essential for learning science” (National Research Council, 2012, p. 41). In order to design professional development so teachers can implement these new standards, we need to assess students’ current skill levels in explanation construction, characterize current teacher practice surrounding it, and identify best practices for supporting students in explanation construction. This case study investigated teacher practice in two high school science inquiry units in the Portland metro area and the scientific explanations the students produced in their work samples. Teacher Instructional Portfolios (TIPs) were analyzed qualitatively based on best practices in teaching science inquiry and a qualitative coding scheme. Written scientific explanations were analyzed with an explanation rubric and qualitative codes. Relationships between instructional practices and explanation quality were examined, and five factors that support students in producing scientific explanations that align with the NGSS were identified: (1) strong content knowledge regarding the theory underlying the science inquiry investigation, (2) balanced pedagogical techniques, (3) previous experience conducting science inquiry, (4) an open-ended investigation topic, and (5) clear expectations for explanation construction aligned with relevant standards.
Recent research in science education is changing how we think about the teaching and learning of science (e.g. NRC, 2007, 2009, 2012). This research tells us that, “Students learn science by actively engaging in the practices of science, including conducting investigations; sharing ideas with peers; specialized ways of talking and writing; mechanical, mathematical, and computer-based modeling; and development of representations of phenomena” (NRC, 2007, p. 251). A Framework for K-12 Science Education [the Framework] (NRC, 2012) and the resulting Next Generation ScienceStandards [NGSS] (NGSS Lead States, 2013) are based upon this research and provide a structure science classrooms can use to change from places where students learn about science to places were students “do” science. This “doing” of science resides in the effective blending of the three dimensions within instructional design and practice.
STEM education is a current focus of many educators and policymakers and the Next Generation ScienceStandards (NGSS) with the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM) are foundational documents driving curricular and instructional decision making for teachers and students in K-8 classrooms across the United States. Thus, practitioners and researchers need to possess a deep and working understanding of these standards. This study aims to examine how terms within the CCSSM and the NGSS are used and aligned by addressing the following research questions: (1) What common terminology is found across CCSSM and NGSS? (2) How does the terminology between the CCSSM and the NGSS compare to one another? (3) How do the cognitive terms found in CCSSM and NGSS change across grade bands? The findings indicate that there are numerous places where common terminology is aligned and used similarly both across grade bands and between the sets of standards. Conversely, many other terms are used with varying degrees of emphasis. Because STEM is presented as a holistic subject, these variable meanings and/or expectations reveal the potential for misguided expectations within the classroom as students, teachers, and principals use the same terminology in multiple, but distinct contexts.
Learning in the Shadows of Time Limitations and Accountability: Vision vs. Enculturation Teachers are not the only stakeholders that recognize the influence of external factors (i.e. time and standards) as restraints on teaching and learning science in meaningful ways to the participants. Students are surprisingly astute about forces that shape teaching in their classrooms and reveal wisdom about the effects on their own learning (Fielding, 2004). For instance, Harold, when asked what type of science lesson he would plan if given the chance responded that the class would read content first, take an exam, get a grade, and then do a project. The common teaching and learning algorithm of reading first—testing—obtaining a grade, framed Harold’s enculturated view of the instructional sequence and has already shaped his expectations. Simply put, he perpetuates what he has experienced, and places science learning through investigation at the end of his list after accountability policies have been met. Furthermore, he rationalized that learning through inquiry though “fun,” would take longer. Therefore, they would not learn as much if they did inquiry activities. Other students agreed, and one pointed out that with inquiry, “You learn a little bit more (depth), but not as much (breadth).” This comment parallels Ms. Tyson’s desire to teach fewer standards more in-depth instead of many concepts superficially. Roger, a fifth grader was asked if it would be useful for teachers to know student interests in science. He responded that it probably would not make a difference, though the Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC , 2012) states that “personal interest, experience, and