Sunday, May 13, 2012
Next Generation Science Standards (phase 3 of 9)
The current draft can be accessed via the NGSS website.
There may be a review session hosted at your local county office of education or Science Project. CSTA has some listed here.
The window for feedback is, as might be expected, brief. May 11-June 1.
After June 1, further revisions will be made, reviewed by states, revised, and presented for public comment. Thereafter, the standards will again be revised and reviewed by states. After that, the final NGSS will be published.
My own take based on some exposure to the new standards is that they are complex. If California's science standards were checkers, the NGSS is tri-dimensional chess. California's standards were content-centric. The NGSS are much more process-centric.
It's too early for me to say whether this is good or bad. There are many details to be ironed out between this draft and final implementation.
Since these are national standards, I wonder things like... how Creationist/ID-friendly these standards will allow Bible-belt states to be. If the focus becomes too process-oriented, content loses relevance. So the content could be evolution or intelligent design, so long as it plugs into certain process activities. And I'll be nervous if we shift from physics, biology, chemistry, and earth science to 10th-grade science, 11th-grade science, and 12th-grade science.
So far, I haven't seen much in terms of accountability assessment. This seems to be the nature of high-minded, all-encompassing standards-writing projects. A blue-ribbon commission decides on an impressively robust-seeming standards set. The set is fiddled with and fussed over by lesser bodies (teachers, the public). Slightly modified standards are eventually adopted and heralded as the savior of science education.
The blue-ribbon commission is disbanded, and lesser bodies (contractors and review panels) are left to implement assessment and accountability. But the blue-ribbon standards don't always lend themselves to simple assessments. And the lesser bodies have little or no budget for assessments. But the public and politicians demand accountability.
The Devil can always find a comfortable residence in The Details. But I digress.