The most intriguing session for me, however, was getting an update on the development of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I've been following the process as closely as possible since the release of the NRC's Framework in July, and this was a great opportunity to hear what was cooking behind the scenes at Achieve. The session was run by Stephen Pruitt (of Achieve fame), Heidi Schweingruber (force behind the Framework), and Peter McLaren (of the CSSS).
Dr. Schweingruber began the presentation with a description of the Framework. She did a nice job of bringing all those who have yet to read the Framework, or to read NSTA's "Reader's Guide," up to speed.
I apologize in advance for the terrible images. The Hilton was stingy with the wifi ($25 bucks, come on now), so all my tweeting and pics came from my Droid. The image above shows a simple correlation between the Common Core standards and NGSS. This was very cool to see, but wait, it gets better.
According to this list, an idea would only be listed as a core idea if:
- It had broad importance across disciplines or was a key idea in one discipline
- It provides a key tool for investigation or problem solving
- It directly relates to the life experiences of students or important happenings in society
- It is teachable and "learnable" over multiple grades
What was really exciting to see was a sample standard! Dr. Pruitt made clear that this was only a sample, and may not look anything like the draft or final versions. Still, it presented some interesting food for thought. Here's the lowdown:
- Performance Expectations will be written in such a way that each of the three Framework pillars are incorporated (Practices, Cross-cutting Concepts, and Core Ideas). An example could be: Students will analyze data (Practice) to determine that kinetic energy is proportional (Cross-cutting Concept) to the mass of a moving object and that it grows with the squaring of velocity (Core Idea).
- Colors will be used in the standard document to help readers see how the three pillars are incorporated.
- Correlations to Common Core State Standards will be included below performance expectations to provide for a seamless method for tying relevant standards together (interdisciplinary party, anyone?)
Mr. McLaren wrapped up the presentation by sharing ways that states are getting involved in the standards process, and just as importantly, how the average Joe and Jane can get involved. One item he mentioned is that even though the talk has been about the twenty-six "lead states" (of which New York is one), all fifty states and D.C. are putting forth plans for standard release. He shared his card with all attendees and even sought me out after the presentation to make sure I had all my questions answered. All three were excellent presenters and great to briefly chat with after the presentation was over.
This is the first time I've had the opportunity to attend the CTL, and have to say that the four sessions I was able to attend were quite intriguing. I even had the chance to pose with good ol' Snoopy (note that I in no way endorse MetLife :) ).