Exploring the NAS Framework for New Science Education Standards

July 20, 2010

On July 12th, the National Academies of Science released a draft of the Framework for New Science Education Standards. The framework consists of seven chapters and almost 200 pages.  It clearly identifies three "dimensions" of science education that must be woven together into standards, instruction and assessment: 1) Disciplinary core ideas in life science, earth and space sciences, physical sciences, and engineering; 2) Cross Cutting Elements including cross-cutting scientific concepts and topics in science, engineering, technology, and society; and 3) scientific and engineering practices.

Learning progressions are central to the framework.  Learning progressions provide a coherent description of how core ideas in science and engineering build throughout K-12.

The framework embraces the mantra, less is more, and states, "Reduction of the sheer sum of details to be mastered give time for students to engage in scientific investigations and argumentation and to achieve depth of understanding of the material that is included."

Visit my blog at Teaching Science 2.0 for more details on the development of the framework.

I have provided a summary of the framework in three parts.  The firstpart explores the premises and guiding principles of the framework document.  The second part explores an example learning progression and the core disciplinary ideas presented in "Dimension 1."  The final part explores dimensions 2 and 3 and includes an example of a performance expectation for one sub-question of a core idea.

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