New Science Standards Will Impact Teachers

Although the Common Core mathematics and English/language arts standards have received a great deal of attention as of late, soon to be released science standards may have a large impact on those pursuing a career in teaching.

Developed by 26 states in partnership with the National Research Council, the Next Generation Science Standards are designed to ensure that by high school graduation, all students have developed an appreciation for science and are capable of relating their scientific knowledge to applicable uses in their everyday lives.

In particular, the standards help to prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, although the National Research Council hopes to help prepare all K-12 students for college and careers.

Although the framework of student expectations provided by the National Research Council in the form of the Next Generation Science Standards are not mandatory, like the Common Core standards, the decision to adopt the new science requirements will lie with individual states. Because 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core standards, it is likely that states would also be open to taking on the new science standards.

If adopted, the standards will have implications across a broad range of curricula, and science teachers should be prepared. The science standards place a heavy emphasis on problem solving, like their Common Core counterparts, and are designed to give students practical knowledge that relates to their interests and life experiences.

According to Next Generation Science Standards, the current academic requirements that science education in America is based upon were adopted 15 years ago. A great deal of advancement in both science and technology has taken place since that time, and along with those advancements has come a different understanding of how students learn best.

The jobs of the future in the United States will rely heavily upon STEM education, and statistics show that the country is lagging behind other nations in this area. According to a Program for International Assessment (PISA) 2010 survey, the United States ranked 17th in the world in science.

If adopted, the new science standards aim to change all that, and science teachers will need to be prepared to renew their commitment to preparing students for the careers of the 21st century.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a non-profit, accredited, online university. WGU's Teachers College offers multiple online degree programs for current teachers or those looking to become teachers. To find out more, please visit our website at www.wgu.edu.

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