The latest draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was released on Tuesday. We looked at them in my department’s PLC meeting on Wednesday. I really like how the standards emphasize the doing of science and have eliminated some of the picky little details. (Why did students ever need to know the function of the Golgi apparatus?)
I do have two concerns about the new standards. First, for students to get to the level demanded by the high school standards, middle schools have to adequately teach the middle school standards. Some middle schools have great science programs, but many have dialed back on science education in favor of English and math, since those subjects are tested more. Which brings me to my second concern – there are no plans right now for any standardized tests for the NGSS. What gets tested is what gets taught, so if there are no tests, why would any middle school that has trouble making AYP bother to teach science? I know that high schools will continue to teach science because colleges demand it, but I bet that we will end up teaching the middle school standards, not the high school standards.
Finally, NGSS is not Common Core!!!!!!