Last Thursday the Fordham Institute released their report on the final draft of the Next Generation Science Standards, assigning them a grade of C. The evaluation is based on content, rigor, clarity, and specificity. The institute contends that many states have already high quality standards and NGSS are not up to the par with those. South Carolina and the District of Columbia are mentioned as examples of having clearly superior science standards compared to those of the NGSS. Pages 3 and 4 of the report list the grades for different states and NAEP, TIMSS, ACT, and PISA Frameworks relative to NGSS. Nineteen states, New Mexico among them, plus the District of Columbia score higher than NGSS.  

The Fordham Institute had also reviewed the Framework for K-12 Science Education prior to evaluating the NGSS. The Framework received a B+ from the institute, but this document was meant as a guiding piece only to the new standards. From the Framework to the NGSS, the institute raises two major issues in the NGSS: Content coverage and the dichotomy of standards as a minimum set of competencies or as challenging competencies that not all students will achieve. As the NGSS are intended for all students, the new standards entail only minimum competencies according to the Institute. The institute claims that the “NGSS suffer from the belief-widespread among educators-that practices are more important than content.”

Another point brought up by the Fordham Institute is that of the college-readiness quandary. What does it truly mean to be college-ready? Does it mean a student will be ready to major in chemistry or physics? Or be prepared for a vocational program? “The content of the NGSS itself fails to ensure that all students will be equipped with sufficient content to make real the option of taking more advanced courses in the core STEM disciplines.” This weakness in content is particularly noticed in chemistry and physics.

The report cautions on states implementing new standards and not having the support system in place. “Most states already have full plates of education reforms that are plenty challenging to implement…state leaders should be wise to consider whether they have the capacity to accomplish this in the near term.”

See here for the full Fordham Institute report.

 


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10/01/2013 9:23pm

See here for the full Fordham Institute report.

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10/29/2013 2:48am

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