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What Professional Development Strategies Are Needed for Successful Implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards?

Abstract

"We are at an exciting time. Decades of research have led to recommendations for new science standards that capitalize on what is known to be effective about learning. The modern emphasis on accountability systems have led states to work together to develop and begin to adopt a more coherent system of standards. The Framework and NGSS have the potential to move our K-12 science system forward in important ways. We know that the type of ambitious teaching reflected in NGSS is possible, occurs in some modern classrooms, and leads to impressive engagement and learning for students. But there is much to be figured out to implement NGSS at scale.

The vision is ambitious. Indeed, although there is compelling research to motivate all the different parts of NGSS, we have not had the opportunity to empirically investigate the effects of a coherent system of science education, in which students were supported in science and engineering practices across 13 years, each year was carefully architected to build on prior years, and teachers and the community shared a common approach to what it means to learn and do science.

The vision has great promise, but also great demands. We know that with sufficient investment of time, resources, and aligning different parts of the system, teachers can learn more effective ways to practice the craft of teaching and support students in more ambitious science learning. There are certainly political and pragmatic challenges facing these efforts. But our community of science educators, researchers, and policy makers has a rare opportunity to make real progress on the shape of science teaching and learning in the United States."

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