Arkansas Adopts NGSS: Here's the How and What as of Now

Tuesday 4:30pm-5:30pm Red Gym
Poster Session


Wendi J. W. Williams, South Texas College
Michele Snyder, Arkansas Department of Education
Cathy Wissehr, University of Arkansas Main Campus
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) describe what students should know and be able to do in the sciences at all levels in the K-12 setting. Our community needs to engage and support educators at state and local pre-college levels and examine ways in which we may move our own practices closer to the vision outlined by NGSS. As a lead state, Arkansas has done just that! The current Science Standards for Arkansas were revised 2005 with revision slated 2011, but the State Board of Education agreed to delay until the 2013 release of NGSS. A committee of Arkansas teachers, administrators, scientists, professional developers, and Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) personnel worked throughout 2014-2015 to develop new K-4 and 5-8 science standards. After a 30-day public comment period, the Board approved the new standards for K-4 and 5-8 at their June 2015 session (triggering implementation fall 2016 and fall 2017, respectively).
Work on high school standards began summer 2015 with teams of educators representing ADE, Math and Science Specialists from statewide Educational Cooperatives, 9-12 STEM faculty (many Advanced Placement), and higher education faculty from 2YC and 4YC STEM and Education/Teacher Preparation programs. As with the K-8 committee, sessions occurred four times for three days each over the following year. Our work has resulted in three main courses for all high school students (with embedded ESS), six career pathways courses (50% as ESS-dominated), and a number of electives, as well as Accelerated Model Course Pathways mapped from 5th into high school levels. It is anticipated that these science standards for Arkansas will be ready for public comment during late spring or summer and should go to the State Board before September 2016. After approval, implementation will begin in the fall of 2018.