Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC)

Making Innovation Central to Rhode Island's Future Gina M. Raimondo, Governor

RI First State to Adopt Next Generation Science Standards for K-12

Published on May 29, 2013

With a unanimous vote at its May 23rd meeting, the RI Board of Education made history by making Rhode Island the first state in the country to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards.

The K-12 standards, more than three years in the making, went through two rounds of public comment before they were issued in final form last month. Two of the central tenets of the standards are providing a greater emphasis on depth over breadth in science education and asking students to apply their learning through the practices of scientific inquiry and engineering design.

Rhode Island is one of the 26 "lead state partners" that helped to develop the standards in collaboration with several national organizations. "Rhode Island is proud to be the first to forge a new path for science education as both a leading state in the development and the first state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards," said the state's education commissioner, Deborah Gist. "The new standards will make sure our students are exposed to rigorous science content and that they learn critical and contextual thinking skills needed to be prepared for college, career and life in the 21st century global economy."

Peter McLaren, a science and technology specialist at the Rhode Island department of education, was a member of the 41-member writing team for the standards, and sees great value in states having common standards in science. "Right now, there are 50 sets of standards, each of them unique," he said. "There is real power in being able to talk the same talk across states. That is huge."

The focus now turns to a four year timeline of implementing the standards including professional development, instruction, curriculum, assessment, pre-service [education], materials and resources.

Read more about K-12 education in RI

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