What Professional Development Strategies Are Needed for Successful Implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards?

This resource is a paper presented by Dr. Brian J. Reiser, from Northwestern University, at the Research Symposium on Science Assessment, hosted by the Center for K–12 Assessment & Performance Management (K–12 Center) at ETS, in September 2013 in Washington, DC. It articulates the required changes needed in professional development of teachers, in order to support students in the type of coherent sense-making science practices called for in the Framework for K–12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The author emphasizes that “the required changes in teachers’ daily practices cannot be accomplished by learning about [the] NGSS, or by developing a collection of isolated techniques. Instead it requires fundamental attention to what we now know about how to support teachers changing their practice.” It emphasizes the collaborative nature of professional development and the utility of technology toward this effort.

Content Comments 

This paper is organized in three sections, identifying the professional development (PD) agenda within the vision of the Framework and the NGSS. It highlights the needed shifts in practices, including the central role of engineering, and the role that PD must play in this process. Recommendations for research-based PD for the NGSS are listed on pages 15–16, and visual organizers throughout illustrate key concepts and processes for clarity. The paper concludes with a vision of great promise and great demands, and an invitation to all science stakeholders to work together to include policy to move forward science teaching and learning in the United States. It provides a review of the implications of research on professional development, especially on systemic change, taking into consideration how an effective system of support aligns to the Framework and the NGSS. Educators, administrators, and policymakers will find this resource of interest.