Navigating the Next Generation Science Standards: Implications and Implementation for Faculty in Writing and the Sciences
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for primary and secondary education, released in 2013, directly link scientific learning objectives to Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts. Therefore, to comply with the NGSS, science teachers are tasked with incorporating more writing into their curricula. Although the new emphasis on writing has garnered criticism for detracting from content-knowledge, this paper argues that it is ultimately a positive change because it can foster “critical science literacy” (Priest, 2013). Moreover, it opens up a space for STEM and writing faculty to collaborate. However, the creators of the NGSS do not frame the standards in a way that would facilitate an easy transition into the new system. In addition to critiquing the presentation of information in NGSS promotional materials and documents, this paper advocates for a conceptual shift, as opposed to a complete overhaul of curricula, to characterize the NGSS for audiences of teachers who are tasked with curricular reform. Topics addressed in this paper include reframing rhetorical studies and socializing students into a discourse community.