Beginning in school year 2018-2019, the Santa Barbara Unified School District will begin implementation of California’s Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS) in our high school science courses. In preparation for this implementation, science teachers have engaged in over 2 years of professional learning, collaboration, and decision-making to create the following recommendation for the new CA NGSS high school science courses.
California’s New Science Standards
The California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS), adopted in 2013, enable our teachers to offer all students interactive science instruction that promotes analysis and interpretation of data, critical thinking, problem solving, and connections across science disciplines-with a high set of expectations for achievement in grades 9-12. The conceptual shifts from our previous science standards to the vision presented by the the California Science Framework (2016) and A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) are summarized below.
Conceptual Shifts in the NGSS
Interconnected Nature of Science and the Real World
The CA NGSS follow a vision for education in the sciences and engineering in which students, over multiple years of school, actively engage in scientific and engineering practices and apply cross-cutting concepts to deepen their understanding of the core ideas in these fields. Instruction that is aligned to the CA NGSS is “3-Dimensional” in that it interweaves three critical components of science instruction: Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs), and Cross-cutting Concepts (CCCs). With implementation of the CA NGSS, science in the classroom will shift toward mirroring how science is done in the real world.
Focus and Coherence
A progression of knowledge from K through 12 aims for overall scientific literacy with instruction focused on a smaller set of ideas at each grade level. Each year builds on the knowledge gained the year before. This progression gives students the opportunity to learn more complex material, leading to a comprehensive understanding of science by the end of high school.
Earth and Space Science Standards Every Year
In SBUSD and throughout most of the state of California, Earth and Space Sciences are now integrated into each year of science education, K-12. Embedding the Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) into our high school science courses allows for the rigorous application of physics, chemistry, and biology concepts to local and global issues involving geology, geochemistry, space technology, astronomy, climate change, and biodiversity. Such lessons will help students develop key problem-solving skills and techniques that prepare them for success in a wide range of college majors or careers, including those in S.T.E.M. fields.
Science and Engineering
Engineering and technology are integrated into the structure of science education. The core ideas of engineering and technology are given the same status as those in the primary science disciplines.
College, Career, and Citizenship Readiness
As our understanding of the complex world in which live grows over time, so must our ability to make sense of the science in our everyday lives. Science is also at the heart of our country’s ability to innovate, lead, and create the jobs of the future. All students, regardless of their future education and career path, must have a robust K-12 science education to be prepared for college, careers, and citizenship.
Next Generation Science Standards Resource for Parents
- Next Generation Science Standards, Appendix A (2013)
- Next Generation Science Standards Parent Resources and Information
- California Science Framework (2016)
- A Framework for K-12 Science Education, The National Academies Press (2011)
- National Science Teachers Association: Science Resources for Parents