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What Can Be Learned From Current Large-Scale Assessment Programs to Inform Assessment of the Next Generation Science Standards?

Abstract

"With the publication of A Framework for K - 12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (National Research Council [NRC], 2012), followed by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS; NGSS Lead States, 2013), we are poised to make a significant change in the way that students learn science in K - 12 schools. 'Seldom has such a consistent message been sent as to the need for change in what we expect students to know and be able to do in science' (Pellegrino, 2013, p. 320). While the vision provided by the framework and new standards has the potential to make students' science learning more coherent and more consistent with the discipline of science, 'the vision cannot be realized unless the standards permeate the education system and guide curriculum, instruction, teacher preparation and professional development, and student assessment' (NRC, 2012, p. 241). As states (e.g., Michigan Department of Education, 2013; Washington's Regional Science Coordinators, 2013; Vermont State Board of Education, 2013) and organizations (e.g., National Science Teachers Association, 2013) gear up to prepare teachers to teach to the new standards, it may be easy to put off work on assessment as part of a second wave of reform, with the rationale that students must be given the opportunity to learn the new standards before they (and their teachers) are held accountable for achievement relative to those standards."

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