Understanding the Standards


A big part of understanding the innovations of the NGSS is understanding why new science standards were needed in the first place. Resources in this section outline some key advances in science education research and describe how the NGSS reflect these advances by enabling students to learn science by doing science.


The NGSS integrate the three dimensions introduced in the National Research Council's A Framework for K-12 Science Education into its student performance expectations. As a result of this innovation, the NGSS look completely different than previous science standards and implementing them requires a major shift in classroom instruction and learning.

How to Read the Standards


The documents and video below explore the standards in more depth and provide guidance on how to navigate the student performance expectations:




The Need for New Standards


Why did we need new science standards?


There is no doubt that science - and therefore, science education - is central to the lives of all Americans. Never before has our world been so complex and scientific literacy is critical to making sense of it all. Science is also at the heart of America's ability to continue innovating, leading, and creating jobs for the future. That's why all students - regardless of whether they pursue college or STEM careers - should have access to a high-quality K-12 science education.


Through a collaborative, state-led process, new K-12 science standards have been developed that are rich in both content and practice, and arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education. The NGSS were released in 2013 and are being implemented in states and districts across the nation.


The documents and video below explore the need for new science standards in more depth:




Read the Next Generation Science Standards and the Appendices.

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