Next Generation Science Standards available for comment now through 1 June

May 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm 2 comments

Check out “Gas station without pumps” for more on the Next Generation Science Standards, available now for comment (but only through this week).  There is a bit of computational thinking and computing education in there, but buried (as the blog post points out).  I know that there is a developing effort to get more computation in there.

The first public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards is available from May 11 to June 1. We welcome and appreciate your feedback. [The Next Generation Science Standards]

Note that there are only 3 weeks given for the public review of this draft of the science standards, and that time is almost up.  I’ve not had time to read the standards yet, and I doubt that many others have either.  We have to hope that someone we respect has enough time on their hands to have done the commenting for us (but the people I respect are all busy—particularly the teachers who are going to have to implement the standards—so who is going to do the commenting?).

I’m also having some difficulty finding a document containing the standards themselves.  There are clear links to front matter, how to interpret the standards, a survey for collecting feedback, a search interface, and various documents about the standards, but I had a hard time finding a simple link to a single document containing all the standards.  It was hidden on their search page, rather than being an obvious link on the main page.

via Next Generation Science Standards « Gas station without pumps.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rick Adrion  |  May 28, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    There are 26 “lead” states in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) (see http://www.achieve.org/ngss-states). Once finalized, each of the 26 (and other states) will decide whether to accept the NGSS language as a state Science/Technology standard (and determine how to assess/test students against the standards … see http://www.parcconline.org/ and http://www.SmarterBalanced.org/). I have read that the NGSS will allow no variations as the Common Core standards did. Some states may be troubled by NGSS position on evolution (there is no alternative allowed). However in may states, such as Massachusetts, the state does not prescribe what curricula are needed to meet the standards, but it is through assessment that the student performance is measured against the standards.

    The NGSS differs from “content standards” (by 8th grade, what a student should know or be able to do, e.g. “Identify and classify objects and materials that conduct electricity and objects and materials that are insulators of electricity”) while the NGSS has both content and “practice” (e.g., content = “Generate and revise causal explanations given specific temperature and precipitation data sets at different geographic locations to answer questions about the interactions that influence weather” and practice = “Apply scientific reasoning to show why the data are adequate for the explanation or conclusion.” Computational thinking shows up most frequently as a practice, and seems to be used in a sense closer to technology fluency than the ISTE/CSTA operational definition of computational thinking.

    The NGSS more tightly integrates science and technology with Core Subjects = Physical Sciences, Life Sciences., Earth and Space Sciences, and Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science + Cross-Cutting Concepts + Scientific and Engineering Practices. A lot of what is in the Engineering Core is closely related to CS (and computational thinking is everywhere), and the practices include a lot one would include in CS such as the explicit references to computational thinking, modeling, abstraction, etc.

    Input to the NGSS (via a 100+ page survey) will go to the national effort, but all input will be routed to one’s state representative (if one lives in a lead state). They primarily are looking for input on each of the performance standards, e.g., Middle School Engineering, Technology and Applications of Science:Engineering Design (MS-ETS-ED) that has as a practice, “Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking” (at the 6–8 level builds on K–5 and progresses to identifying patterns in large data sets and using mathematical concepts to support explanations and argument, e.g., using digital tools (e.g., computers) to analyze very large data sets for patterns and trends and using mathematical arguments to justify scientific conclusions and design solutions). In my opinion, the survey is not designed to be helpful for providing high-level input on why CS ought to be a science and why computational thinking needs a better and broader definition.

    NGSS is based on an NRC study (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13165) that argued that CS was a mathematical subject, not a science subject.

    Reply
    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  May 28, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      Thanks, Rick! It’s great to get this perspective.

      Reply

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