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S3 E6: Does NGSS Do Enough to Prepare Students?

September 21, 2020

In this episode, Nicole and Erin address a common objection to the NGSS standards. Many teachers worry that the NGSS isn't adequate preparation for college and careers in science.

Does the NGSS adequately prepare students for college?

One of the common objections to the NGSS is that students may not come away with the facts that are necessary for them to be successful in college.

Nicole and Erin answer the following listener question:

NGSS curriculum in Biology is such a far cry from the courses I took in high school and college. I love the critical thinking and  student-driven process. But, do you ever have the concern that students are not equipped with the baseline of facts they need to enter into a college Biology or other science field?

Kristen – Teacher at an American School in North Africa

The intent behind the science framework is to prepare students with foundational knowledge and skills.

One of the goals set forth by the Framework for K-12 Science Education was to set a baseline of science understanding for all students who are graduating from high school. However, the framework deemphasizes the importance of knowing isolated facts.

Instead, the writers developed an approach to science education that allows students to have a “big picture” understanding of science.

There is extensive research behind the framework. One of the conclusions of this research was that it is very important for students to have strong foundational skills along with an overall understand of the nature of science. After, students are able to apply this understanding to more specific science content.

This method is superior to teaching students seemingly unrelated facts because students will have a strong foundational understanding of science.

As a result, some of the facts aren't a part of the standards anymore.

The NGSS prepare students by providing a baseline of science knowledge for all students across science disciplines.

Another benefit of the NGSS is that they provide a much more well-rounded approach to teaching science content.

When we look at the minimum graduation requirements for a given high school, many of the programs deemphasize some science disciplines. Instead, the NGSS requires that all students have a good foundational understanding of Earth and Space Science, Life Science and Physical Science.

Beyond the Minimum Requirements- The Importance of Science Electives

The NGSS provides all students with foundational information and science skills. However, the NGSS does not preclude schools from offering advanced placement or other elective courses.

Therefore, college-bound students and students who hav and interest in science may deepen their understanding of science content through elective courses. Also, schools may still offer alternative pathways for these students.

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