CIC Snapshot: Untangling the Next Generation Science Standards

During the 2015 Content in Context session Untangling the Next Generation Science Standards, the presenters discussed how publishers can support educators, whether their state has formally or informally adopting the NGSS. 


  • The NGSS is a comprehensive set of standards for K-12. By default a single lesson cannot be aligned to the NGSS. What would be completely aligned is a comprehensive K-12 science curriculum, but we are not there yet with our schools or in the publishing industry.
  • Even though we aren’t there yet with the comprehensive curriculum, we should think about bundling materials together.
  • One of the biggest changes for the students is the focus on argumentation and being able to engage in scientific discourse with classmates. Teachers would love to have materials that incorporate not only collaboration but help them learn how to debate and defend their findings.
  • Similarly, teachers need professional development resources to help them become a facilitator in science class rather than a deliverer of facts. Elementary teachers need more assistance as many do not have a deep enough background in science to make the adjustments required by the framework.
  • The hunger and money is out there in the market for buying STEM materials. If publishers are concerned about labeling their materials as NGSS, a safe refuge is to fall back and call your products STEM. Many states are informally adopting the standards and are looking for quality STEM products.
  • Science, though, still takes a back seat to math and ELA. If publishers can tie their materials into those subjects, there is money.
  • Finally, there has been some pushback from students. They are used to “doing school” (filling out worksheets taking multiple choice tests, and reading the right passages for exams), but they don’t know how to think. NGSS materials should push students into thinking more about the issues in science rather than rote memorization.  


Content in Context