The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), released in April, are the first sweeping recommendations for science instruction since 1996, and were designed to reflect the increasing need for scientific acumen in a complex, technological world. Almost three years in the making, the NGSS will supplant the National Education Science Standards created 17 years ago.
The new standards were written by 41 educators from 26 states, and are the product of a joint effort by the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Achieve, a Washington, D.C.-based educational group, organized the project, which is state-generated, not federally funded.
Educators say NGSS represents a seismic shift in the way science is taught and learned in the classroom. Instead of the traditional teaching methods—in which students are exhorted to remember facts and formulas—the emphasis is on demonstrating the scientific process.