For immediate release:
April 16, 2013
Kathy Toelkes, Director of Communications, 785-296-4876
State Board reviews final version of Next Generation
Vote on adoption expected later this year
TOPEKA – The State Board of Education had its first chance today to discuss the final version of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a set of voluntary, internationally benchmarked academic standards that identify science and engineering practices and content for grades K-12. Kansas was one of 26 lead states in the state-led, collaborative process to develop the NGSS.
The NGSS are built upon the vision for science education outlined in A Framework for K-12 Science Education, developed by the National Research Council. The standards differ from current state standards by blending core science knowledge with scientific practices and cross cutting concepts, which aligns with what research has shown are the most effective practices in teaching science. State Board members have received monthly updates on the standards development since the effort began in September 2011.
In Kansas, a 60-member committee comprised of representatives from elementary, middle and high school educators, post-secondary science and science education professors, the Kansas State Board of Education and business and industry has been meeting for the past 18 months to review drafts of the standards and provide feedback and guidance to the standards writing committee. The Kansas Review Committee is expected to bring a recommendation to the Board on whether to adopt the standards in May.
“The members of the Kansas Review Committee have been extremely pleased with the process and with their ability to affect the standards development,” said Matt Krehbiel, education program consultant for science with the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). “While the committee members have been excited about what they have seen in the standards drafts leading up to the final version, they wanted to be very deliberate in reviewing the final draft before making a recommendation to the State Board.”
The final standards were released publicly April 9. As a lead state partner in the NGSS effort, Kansas agreed to give serious consideration to adopting the standards as presented.
The presentation to the State Board reviewed the process to develop the standards, which was coordinated by the National Research Council (the staffing arm of the National Academy of Sciences) and managed by the non-profit, education reform organization Achieve. There was no involvement or financial support from the federal government in the effort. Funding for the standards development came primarily through a grant from the Carnegie Corporation.
Kansas Review Committee Chairs Dr. Paul Adams, Anschutz Endowed Professor at Fort Hays State University; Mary Cerny, elementary science teacher for Salina Publics Schools; and John Popp, director of Curriculum and Instruction for Great Bend Public Schools, highlighted the role that the Kansas Review Committee played in the standards development process by presenting both general and highly specific examples of how the drafts of the standards changed over time and how those changes were connected to the feedback provided by the Kansas team.
In addition to highlighting Kansas’ role in the development of the NGSS, the presentation also clarified how the NGSS are similar to and different from the current Kansas Science Education Standards. Though the current standards have similar types of information, the NGSS has updated this information with 15 years of research in science and how students learn science and has blended the types of information in a different way, Krehbiel said. Both documents contain information about how science is done, important science content and themes that cut across scientific disciplines, but in the current Kansas Science Education Standards this information resides in different locations within the document with student expectations focusing on each one independently. In the NGSS, these dimensions are blended into each performance expectation.
Board members are expected to vote on the NGSS later this year.