Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) provide a framework for three-dimensional science teaching and learning in grades K-12 and set expectations for what students should be able to know and do in science. The NGSS were adopted by the Board of Education in February 2016 and will be fully implemented by the 2019–20 school year.
Developed by states and guided by the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve, the standards reflect current research and best practices in science teaching and learning.
The development of the NGSS was guided by
a three-dimensional approach: integrating Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas.
The NGSS are standards, which are goals that reflect what students should know and be able to do in science. The standards do not prescribe curriculum or instructional models. The standards do underscore the need for science for all students and an approach that addresses equity and diversity.
How is NGSS different?
There are five major conceptual shifts from previous standards to NGSS.
- Science teaching and learning should be three-dimensional (see above), reflecting science and engineering in the real world.
- Science concepts and practices build from K through 12, with an emphasis on focus, coherence, and scientific literacy. Science education is a priority at all grade levels.
- Content is not a collection of isolated facts to be memorized, rather a body of knowledge to be discovered through understanding phenomena and designing solutions to engineering problems.
- Engineering is integrated into NGSS as an application of scientific knowledge to solving practical problems and real-world challenges.
- The NGSS are designed to prepare students for college, career, and citizenship and overlap with
Hawai‘i Common Core Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy standards in meaningful and substantive ways. With NGSS and Common Core, Hawai'i has a set of comprehensive standards that provides a solid K–12 foundation for all students.
In the classroom, NGSS-based teaching and learning may look very different as teachers use a range of strategies to address these instructional shifts. Some differences that may observed are described below.
|1. Learning of ideas disconnected from questions about phenomena||1. Systems thinking and modeling to explain phenomena and to give a context for the ideas to be learned|
|2. Teachers providing information to the whole class||2. Students conducting investigations, solving problems, and engaging in discussions with teacher guidance|
|3. Teachers posing questions with only one right answer||3. Students discussing open-ended questions that focus on the strength of the evidence used to generate claims|
|4. Student reading textbooks and answering questions at the end of each chapter||4. Students reading multiple sources and developing summaries of information|
|5. Worksheets||5. Student writing of journals, reports, posters, and media presentations that offer explanations and arguments|
|6. Oversimplification of activities for students who are perceived to be “less able” to do science and engineering||6. Provision of supports so that all students can engage in sophisticated science and engineering practices|
Families can help
Families play a key role in student success. An NGSS classroom may look different than you remember science class, but you can support your child’s learning in many ways. The National Science Teachers Association has prepared a
Parent Guide for NGSS and
general resources for supporting your child in science and STEM. You may not know all of the answers, but that is okay! Encourage your child to observe, ask questions, experiment, solve problems, and pursue ways to figure out the world around them.
NGSS implementation is being guided and supported by many organizations and stakeholders. Please review resources listed below, and do a deeper dive in the implementation areas linked below. Hawaii DOE staff can access additional resources on the
Intranet science site (login required).
For questions about NGSS implementation:
For questions about state summative assessments (HSA-Science):