A collaboration between EdReports and NextGenScience
Today’s science standards, including the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), have initiated a significant shift in all parts of the science education system. As a result, science instructional materials are also changing. Educators—including school and district administrators—and developers of instructional materials are working to anticipate and overcome common challenges to creating, selecting and implementing high-quality curricula.
EdReports and NextGenScience have co-developed a new resource to illustrate and provide unified definitions of design features that ensure instructional materials can help students meet or exceed today’s science standards.
One of the most important factors for ensuring that all students experience science education that prepares them for future success is access to high-quality, standards-aligned instructional materials. This is especially critical for our nation’s Black, Latinx, multilingual, and low-income students.
While the NGSS was introduced in 2013, curriculum developers and classroom educators are still working to design and adapt materials that fully incorporate the critical features of these standards. The complexity of this work is reflected in the reviews conducted by the authors of this resource: only about three percent of materials submitted to the NextGenScience Peer Review Panel for review have earned the NGSS Design Badge, and only one science program, thus far, has earned EdReports’ “Meets Expectations” rating for standards alignment.
But there is a lot of room for optimism: the percentage of high-quality materials is growing, publishers are revising in response to reviews, and materials are increasingly incorporating one or more of the critical features described in this resource.
Understanding Critical Science Features Benefits All Stakeholders
EdReports and NextGenScience have documented the successes and challenges faced by curriculum developers and by educators. These efforts have clarified the design features that are the most challenging to articulate as well as those that are most critical to incorporate in order to achieve high-quality, standards aligned science curriculum.
This resource describes trends on what to look for when designing or selecting materials to ensure students and teachers have curricula that meet the full intent of the NGSS. School districts and states will also benefit from the information in this resource as they navigate the selection, adoption, and adaptation of high-quality instructional materials. They play a pivotal role in creating the demand for any developer of science content to incorporate critical NGSS features to meet local needs, including the expectations of their state standards.