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Washington Joins List of States to Adopt Common Science Standards

Washington has become the eighth state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, following action last week by state Superintendent Randy Dorn

The K-12 standards were developed by 26 lead state partners, including Washington, in collaboration with several national organizations. The seven other states to adopt the standards so far include Delaware, the most recent addition before Washington, as well as California, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Vermont, and Delaware.

Key elements of the standards include providing 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.

"We live in an increasingly complex world," said Dorn in a news release. "And we will need solutions to some big problems. ... A high-quality science education that starts in the early grades is the key to ensuring we solve those problems and creating a future full of possibilities."

Unlike most other states, in Washington the state superintendent has the authority to adopt the standards, rather than the state board of education. In any case, the board recently voted to recommend adoption.

In adopting the new science standards, which are expected to be fully implemented by the 2016-17 school year, the state will use a process similar to that it used in adopting the Common Core State Standards for math and English/language arts, the news release said. After building awareness, Washington will work on building capacity in its schools and districts. Students will be tested on the new standards beginning in the 2017-18 school year, the state agency said.

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