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Iowa Becomes 15th State to Adopt Next Generation Science Standards

The Iowa state board of education voted unanimously on Aug. 6 to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards.

Fourteen other states and the District of Columbia have also adopted the common science standards, which emphasize scientific inquiry and engineering design and ask students to link broad concepts across the science fields. Twenty-six "lead state partners" helped develop the standards and pledged to seriously consider adopting them; Iowa was among them.

In addition to the standards themselves, known as performance expectations, the original NGSS document also includes three other elements, or dimensions: science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts.

The Iowa version of the NGSS, as written, is made up only of the performance expectations, and not the other three dimensions. However, Cindy Workosky, a spokeswoman for the National Science Teachers Association explained that "each performance expectation incorporates all three dimensions from the framework" and assumes they will be assessed. Other states have also adopted only the performance expectations.

Based on the recommendations of a state review team, the Iowa NGSS document also separates the middle school standards into individual grade levels, rather than presenting them as a grade span as they are in the original document. 

"While the Next Generation Science Standards represents the backbone of what we've adopted today, these are now Iowa's science standards because they've been reviewed, vetted, and modified by Iowans," Charles Edwards of Des Moines, the board president, said in a statement.

The other NGSS adopters include: Arkansas, California, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

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