skip to main content

Next Generation Science Standards

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a new set of K–12 science standards that were developed by states, for states. The NGSS identify scientific and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas in science that all K–12 students should master in order to prepare for success in college and 21st-century careers. Join us as we discuss ways that the NGSS will influence science instruction and assessment on all grade levels.

Guest Participants: Amy L. Reese, Coordinator of Elementary Science, and Mary C. H. Weller, Coordinator of Secondary Science

Next Generation Science Standards: “All standards for all students”

In 2013, Maryland adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as the Maryland Science Standards for K–12 science education. The NGSS were developed by a group of 26 lead states, including Maryland, and included input from professional scientists, college/university educators, policy-makers, and K–12 educators to identify the knowledge and skills all students need to become science literate.

View the Next Generation Science Standards at

The NGSS combine and emphasize:

  • Practices of real scientists and engineers.
  • Core Ideas from the three major scientific disciplines: earth/space science, life science (biology), and physical science (chemistry and physics) as well as engineering and the application of science.
  • Crosscutting ideas: concepts that share broad importance across disciplines, are key to understanding more complex topics, and relate to life experiences or societal issues (e.g., cause and effect, patterns).

Science Curriculum

The new HCPSS K–12 science curriculum is aligned to the NGSS. By teaching “all standards for all students,” our curriculum gives every student a broad and robust science education while:

Download the Science Education in the HCPSS flier

  • Gaining a deep understanding of basic science concepts.
  • Applying scientific and technical information systematically and rationally.
  • Developing lifelong learning habits, because science is continually evolving and changing.
  • Leveraging individual strengths, interests, and goals.
  • Learning through inquiry and discovery, using science practices to develop deep understanding and solve real world problems.

HCPSS has completed transition to the NGSS-aligned curriculum in elementary (K–5) and middle (6–8) school. The new high school curriculum will be completely aligned by the 2018–19 school year.

The high school science curriculum will include several significant changes:

  • Breadth: All students will take core courses in all three science disciplines: Earth/space, physical (chemistry and physics), and life science (biology). These courses provide each student with broad, deep science literacy and the core knowledge across all scientific disciplines needed for ongoing science learning.
  • Flexibility: Students may choose courses and course sequences that meet individual goals and interests, and may move between regular and advanced level courses at any point. All students may pursue advanced (G/T or AP) science course options, including those who were not in G/T in middle school.
  • Advanced learning options: All students have opportunities to take additional enrichment courses once the core courses are completed and may begin AP as early as grade 11.

Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (MISA)

Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (MISA) is Maryland’s new NGSS- aligned standardized science assessment. MISA replaces the MSA Science and HSA Biology tests in all Maryland schools and will be phased in beginning in 2017.

Learn more about MISA and its timeline →