Anticipating the Conceptual Framework for Science Education

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A new article, authored by National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Past President Harold Pratt, is the first in a series of articles by NSTA that explore the development, role, content, and implications of the soon-to-be-released Conceptual Framework for Science Education.

The paper, Anticipating the Conceptual Framework for Science Education: An in-depth look at its development, role, possible content, and relationship to standards, provides an overview of the next generation of science education standards for the science education community including the process to-date and what lies ahead.

In early 2010, the National Research Council's (NRC) Board on Science Education (BOSE)—with funding from Carnegie Corporation of New York—began its work with an 18-member study committee to develop a conceptual framework to guide the development of new science education standards. This document represents the first step in the process of developing the next generation of science standards and lays the foundation for what core science ideas, cross-cutting concepts, and scientific practices all students need to succeed in science. A group of collaborating partners, including Achieve, NSTA, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), have been providing advice to this aspect of the project and engaging constituencies when possible.

Last summer, NRC released a draft of the conceptual framework for public input, and more than 2,000 people provided feedback via an online survey. NSTA hosted a series of feedback sessions across the country and invited K–12 science teachers, teacher leaders, science coordinators and supervisors, curriculum developers, teacher educators, and others to share their views on the framework. The NRC committee is revising the framework based on the extensive and thoughtful feedback it received and is expected to release the final document sometime in late spring.

See the NSTA for additional information The First Step: A Conceptual Framework and The Second Step: The Writing of New Standards