3-Dimensional Learning and the NGSS: A Side-by-Side Comparison | Carolina.com

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3-Dimensional Learning and the NGSS: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Dee Dee Whitaker
Product Content Manager

August 2018


Did you know the Next Generation Science Standards* (NGSS) published by Achieve are based on the research and work of the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine? A group of renowned scientists, scholars, and educators gathered with the premise that understanding science and technology is essential for everyday life and can be a source of enrichment on a personal level. The result of the committee’s work is A Framework for K–12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas, published in 2012.

With its emphasis on 3-dimensional instruction, the framework was intended to guide curriculum and assessment development as individual states, counties, or other local education authorities developed a set of science standards. Achieve led the efforts by states, science educators, classroom teachers, and the public to develop specific science standards for K–12 science education in the physical sciences, life sciences, and earth and space sciences, which we know today as the NGSS.

This table illustrates the evolution of the standards and the 3 dimensions.


From NRC Framework to the Next Generation Science Standards

Construct Framework NGSS
Integration of content and practices Yes Yes
Dimension:
Science and engineering practices
8 practices
  • Asking questions and defining problems
  • Developing and using models
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
8 practices
  • Asking questions and defining problems
  • Developing and using models
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
Dimension:
Crosscutting concepts
7 crosscutting concepts
  • Patterns
  • Cause and effect: mechanism and explanation
  • Scale, proportion, and quantity
  • Systems and system models
  • Energy and matter: flows, cycles, and conservation
  • Structure and function
  • Stability and change
7 crosscutting concepts
  • Patterns
  • Cause and effect: mechanism and explanation
  • Scale, proportion, and quantity
  • Systems and system models
  • Energy and matter: flows, cycles, and conservation
  • Structure and function
  • Stability and change
Dimension:
Core ideas
3 core content areas Life sciences, physical sciences, and earth and space sciences
3 core content areas Life sciences, physical sciences, and earth and space sciences
Grade banded content Yes, with explanations of appropriate depth of knowledge Yes, with specific performance expectations and assessment boundaries
Developmental progression Yes—core ideas, practices, and crosscutting concepts organized by grade level Yes—core ideas, practices, and crosscutting concepts organized by grade level
Builds on students’ prior interest Phenomenon-based with student-generated questions Phenomenon-based with student-generated questions
Performance expectations Performance expectation samples given for components of the core ideas (each PE has a stated task and criteria) Performance expectations given for all components of the core ideas. Each PE has a clarification statement and assessment boundary. There is an NGSS table that includes the science and engineering practice, disciplinary core idea/component, and crosscutting concept. Every PE includes an extensive table of observable features of student performance that correlate to the science or engineering practice identified in the PE.

Sources

Achieve. 2013. Next Generation Science Standards.

National Research Council. 2012. A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

*Next Generation Science Standards® is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of, and do not endorse, these products.

DeeDee Whitaker

About the Author

Dee Dee Whitaker has been a science educator for more than 30 years. She holds a BS and MAT from UNC-Chapel Hill, is certified in science supervision, and National Board certified in adolescent-young adult chemistry education. Her teaching passions are chemistry with authentic student lab experiences and Earth/environmental science. She’s held a Kenan Fellowship and a NC Climate Fellowship. She’s read AP® Environmental Science exams, provided curriculum and assessment development for the NC Department of Public Instruction, and held an appointment with the NC Environmental Education Advisory Council.

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