Giallermo was one of three educators involved in Oregon’s adoption earlier this month of the Next Generation Science Standards, a K-12 science curriculum adopted by nine other states.
“The standards represent a move away from just a list of facts students need to master before graduation,” Giamellaro said this week. “The vision is that as students move up, they are not just progressing from topic to topic, but seeing connections across core ideas. Standards are also tied to performance expectations, where knowledge and skills are applied.”
Oregon last adopted a new set of science standards in 2009. While those standards began to incorporate more engineering content, the Next Generation Science Standards, adopted March 6, push that even further. However, Giamellaro said the challenge isn’t over what to include, but what to leave out, given how much could be included in a science curriculum.
“In past national efforts on standards, by the time everything that should be there is in, it’s an overwhelming collection of ideas that’s impossible to get to,” Giamellaro said. “Our big focus is on getting to the most important things people will need in a future, as we interact with technology and engineering more.”
The next challenge is deciding how to implement the standards and bring teachers up to speed on the state’s new expectations for science education.
The adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards coincides with the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, a set of math and English education goals Oregon and most other states will implement in the 2014-15 school year. The Common Core is intended to emphasize critical thinking and has been characterized as more rigorous than current Oregon standards by the state Education Department.