Maryland State Board adopts new science standards

The Maryland State Board of Education this morning adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, available here, which its members believe are voluntary, rigorous, and internationally benchmarked standards for K-12 science education.

With the unanimous vote, Maryland became the fourth state to adopt the NGSS. The goal of the NGSS is to provide all students with a foundation in science that blends practice and content, allowing high school graduates to construct arguments based on scientific principles.

Planning for introduction of NGSS has already begun in Maryland. Full implementation is expected to be complete in time for the 2017-18 school year.

“Until now, in-depth science education has been for an elite few. These standards will make it an integral part of education for every student,” said Dr S James Gates, a University of Maryland physics professor and Maryland State Board member. “These standards provide the foundation for the jobs of tomorrow. They can be the key to unlocking the American dream.”

Maryland is one of 26 states and their broad-based teams that have worked together for nearly two years on the standards, with a 41-member writing team and partners. The goal has been to develop standards identifying science and engineering practices and content that all K-12 students should master in order to be fully prepared for college, careers and citizenship.

The NGSS were built upon a vision for science education established by the Framework for K-12 Science Education, published by the National Academies’ National Research Council in 2011.

The development of the NGSS was entirely state-driven, the Maryland State Department of Education said, since, the department reports, no federal funds or incentives were used to create or adopt the standards. The process was primarily funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a leading philanthropy dedicated to improving science education in the US.

As is the case with the current Maryland state science standards, the NGSS are grounded in a sound, evidence-based foundation of current scientific research, including research on the ways students learn science effectively, and identify the science all K–12 students should know.

(The above press release was edited to remove or qualify opinions attributed only to the writer and not to any person of authority. Please see our detailed examination of a few pages in the NGSS, here and here.)