14 January 2013


Way back in May 2012, the first draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was released. I was unimpressed by that hot mess of a document. It's taken a long time, but the second draft of these standards is available for public comment (but only until January 29). You can view the standards by Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) or by topics. You can view supporting material and access the surveys here.

It appears that 95% of the standards have been altered in some way since the original public draft, including deleting some content. (You can read about the collective wisdom from the survey data and the NGSS response here.) Just as a point of reference, here is a page for Kindergarten from the first draft:

And here is the revised version:

I want to remind you that everything above the colored boxes represents the standard(s). Everything else on this page is supporting material. They didn't do anything design-wise to emphasize the standards, make the document accessible for people with vision problems, or otherwise deal with the cluttered confusing mess presented to teachers. Meanwhile, we're still missing pieces. The connections and articulation pieces are still listed as "will be added in future version."

In other words this is the Same Shit, Different Draft (SSDD).

I do appreciate that Achieve (the group behind developing the NGSS) has responded to criticisms about the standards themselves. I also appreciate their transparency in showing the connections to the Framework for Science Education and the Common Core State Standards. I don't understand why it's important to lose these standards in a sea of gobbledy-gook that would be better served as appendices or supporting documents...nor why this document has to be so ill-designed. I really hope they clean up their act by the time the final draft is available in March. Argh.

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