CA NGSS Essentials
The goal of the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS) is to prepare California students to be future citizens and future scientists, which leads to a specific vision about science education:
Learning science depends not only on the accumulation of facts and concepts but also on the development of an identity as a competent learner of science with motivation and interest to learn more. … Such identity formation is valuable not only for the small number of students who, over the course of a lifetime, will come to view themselves as scientists or engineers, but also for the great majority of students who do not follow these professional paths. Science learning in school leads to citizens with the confidence, ability, and inclination to continue learning about issues, scientific and otherwise, that affect their lives and communities. (National Research Council [NRC] 2012a, Chapter 11)
Achieving this vision for all California students requires that they build toward science mastery through repeated opportunities for meaningful, engaging, and successful learning experiences. To provide those experiences, the CA NGSS lays out a coherent progression for K–12 science based on accumulated research about science learning. Science is more than a disconnected sequence of facts—it requires understanding of the process of science, the fundamental ideas within each discipline of science, and certain underlying themes that are common to all the sciences.
A Framework for K–12 Science Education (NRC Framework) identifies these components as three dimensions:
1) science and engineering practices (SEPs)
2) disciplinary core ideas (DCIs)
3) crosscutting concepts (CCCs)