State adopts new science standards for schools
October 29, 2013
Washington has adopted a new set of standards aimed at providing consistent science education for students in all grade levels.
The adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards — which emphasize skills in engineering and technology — was announced Oct. 4 by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn and Gov. Jay Inslee at a press conference at Cascade Middle School in Highline.
The standards spell out what students at each grade level should know in four domains: physical science; life science; earth and space science; and engineering, technology and science application.
“Our classrooms are where Washington’s next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs get their start,” Inslee said in a press release. “These new standards will help educators cultivate students’ natural curiosity, push their creative boundaries, and get kids excited about science and technology.”
Washington is the eighth state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards. The process for implementation will be similar to the one used for the Common Core State Standards. Schools are expected to have the standards in place by the 2016-17 school year, with student testing on the new standards taking place the following year.
Dorn noted the new standards focus on student diversity and equity. The standards also build on each other, meaning material students learn one year impacts what they learn the next. Integrating engineering and technology across all grades gives students a solid foundation in both areas, Dorn said.
“We live in an increasingly complex world,” he added in the release. “And we will need solutions to some big problems, like conserving water and finding new sources of energy. A high-quality science education that starts in the early grades is the key to ensuring we solve those problems and create a future full of possibilities.”