Framework for Next Generation Science Standards



Taken from the Summary sections of A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas National Academies Press, 2012.



The Committee on a Conceptual Framework for New K-12 Science Education Standards was charged with developing a framework that articulates a broad set of expectations for students in science. The overarching goal of our framework for K-12 science education is to ensure that by the end of 12th grade, all students have some appreciation of the beauty and wonder of science; possess sufficient knowledge of science and engineering to engage in public discussions on related issues; are careful consumers of scientific and technological information related to their everyday lives; are able to continue to learn about science outside school; and have the skills to enter careers of their choice, including (but not limited to) careers in science, engineering, and technology.

Currently, K-12 science education in the United States fails to achieve these outcomes, in part because it is not organized systematically across multiple years of school, emphasizes discrete facts with a focus on breadth over depth, and does not provide students with engaging opportunities to experience how science is actually done. The framework is designed to directly address and overcome these weaknesses.

The framework is based on a rich and growing body of research on teaching and learning in science, as well as on nearly two decades of efforts to define foundational knowledge and skills for K-12 science and engineering. From this work, the committee concludes that K-12 science and engineering education should focus on a limited number of disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts, be designed so that students continually build on and revise their knowledge and abilities over multiple years, and support the integration of such knowledge and abilities with the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design.

The committee recommends that science education in grades K-12 be built around three major dimensions (see Box S-1 for details of each dimension). These dimensions are


• Scientific and engineering practices

• Crosscutting concepts that unify the study of science and engineering through their common application across fields

• Core ideas in four disciplinary areas: physical sciences; life sciences; earth and space sciences; and engineering, technology, and applications of science