Science Standards for Georgia's Next Generation

Updates: What's Happening With Georgia's Science Standards?


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  • 19 Apr 2016 9:39 AM | Jeremy Peacock (Administrator)

    The Georgia Department of Education has launched the Science Ambassadors program to support professional learning and implementation of the new Science Georgia Standards of Excellence.  GaDOE is accepting nominations for the program through school districts.  GSTA board members will also be participating in the program.  After receiving training from GaDOE, Ambassadors will provide professional learning to other educators in their local areas.  There are also plans pending for teacher workshops to be held in summer 2017.  Here is an excerpt from the DOE memo describing the program.

    The Science Ambassador Program is designed to augment the leadership capacity of science educators across the state by providing targeted training to a cadre of science teachers, science academic instructors and coaches, RESA science specialists, science curriculum specialists, and other science educators to support professional development for their local school districts.


  • 19 Apr 2016 9:38 AM | Jeremy Peacock (Administrator)


    The Georgia Board of Education took up the final adoption of the proposed science and social studies Standards of Excellence in their March 31st meeting today.  Five individuals testified in favor of the revised science standards including Dr. Mark Farmer, Patricia DuBose, representatives from the Georgia Science Teachers Association, the Captain Planet Foundation, the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, and other stakeholders in the science community.  After testimony was heard, the Board moved to adopt the draft science standards and they were approved unanimously.  See below for the official press release from DOE, including links to the approved standards.

    As a result of the substantial outreach that the Board of Education and State School Superintendent Richard Woods received on the recent changes to the social studies standards of excellence, the Board voted to postpone the vote on the standards to the May 5th meeting so that the social studies standards advisory group can reconvene on April 21st and evaluate the changes and the feedback they received.  Also of note, both House and Senate Education Chairmen Brooks Coleman and Lindsey Tippins attended the board meeting to speak to the board about the 2016 legislative session.  The Chairmen reviewed some of the major legislation that came before their committees, including SB 364. 

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    State Board of Education approves new science standards

     

    March 31, 2016 – The State Board of Education has approved the first Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) for science, which will be implemented during the 2017-18 school year following a full year of teacher training. The new standards were developed based on public feedback from teachers, parents and families, students, business and industry, and community members, who shared their input through survey opportunities and committee participation. Following that, the standards were posted for a 60-day public comment period, which ran from January 15 to March 14, 2016. View a summary of changes here.

    “These standards were developed based on feedback from the public – from teachers, students, parents, business and industry leaders, higher education representatives, and other concerned citizens,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “We are grateful for the thousands of Georgians who took the time to review the proposed standards and share their opinions – they have helped us create appropriate standards with ample time available for teacher training.” 

    “The standards review process is intended to give educators, parents, and other stakeholders an opportunity to express their concerns, and changes were made on the basis of their responses,” State Board Chair Mike Royal said. “As a result, these new science standards are a direct response to the needs of Georgia’s students.”

    As part of the process of the review that produced the new standards, science teachers across the state were asked to provide feedback for every single standard and element in their grade level or high school course. The science surveys drew more than 9,000 teachers, with participation from every school district. Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) assisted in development of the survey, and the University System of Georgia provided a third-party analysis of the survey results.

    Students, parents and families, business and industry, and community members were also invited to provide feedback on the existing standards through an additional survey. SEDL, an affiliate of American Institutes for Research, assisted in management of this survey, and Georgia State University provided a third-party analysis of the results. 

    Survey results were used by practicing Georgia science teachers to guide revisions made to the existing standards. Advisory and academic committees also took part in the revision; these included district-level instructional leaders, parents, and representatives from business and industry, Georgia’s university and technical college systems, nonprofit organizations and other education-related state agencies.

    The proposed standards were then posted for 60 days of public comment. Following that period, committee members reconvened to review the survey data and make recommendations by grade level and high school course. During the time public comment was open, the GaDOE received 5,098 responses to the science survey.

    A note regarding social studies: the State Board of Education tabled the social studies standards so they could go back to the committee members to discuss some of the modifications/clarifications made after the committee’s vote.

    Supporting Documents – Science:

    Georgia Standards of Excellence – Science 

    Science – Board Item

    Science – Crosswalk  


  • 15 Jan 2016 12:54 PM | Jeremy Peacock (Administrator)
    Georgia DOE has now released the Draft Science Standards of Excellence, and this is a critical opportunity for you to speak up and provide input on science education in Georgia.  GSTA wants to ensure that classroom science teachers are the primary voice in this process.  You can read the DOE's official announcement below, but please view the video below and and visit GSTA's website before completing the DOE survey.


    Video: Speaking Up For Science


    You can read more about the standards revision process and access the DOE survey on GSTA's standards website: http://georgiascienceteacher.org/Georgia-Next-Gen-Science.

    Best regards,

    Jeremy

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    Jeremy Peacock, Ed.D.

    GSTA President


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    Dear Science Educator,

    The Science Georgia Performance Standards have been reviewed and revised over the last several months.  Many of you may have participated in this process by completing one of the stakeholder surveys or by serving on one of the revision committees.  Today marks the beginning of a 60-day public review period of the draft K-12 Science Georgia Standards of Excellence, and we encourage you to review the draft and provide feedback via a brief survey.  To ensure that you receive important information throughout the revision process and beyond, please consider signing up for one or more of the email lists below:

    Science K-5
    join-science-k-5@list.doe.k12.ga.us

    Science 6-8
    join-science-6-8@list.doe.k12.ga.us

    Science 9-12
    join-science-9-12@list.doe.k12.ga.us

    Please help us reach as many of Georgia’s science teachers as possible by forwarding this to others in your school and/or district.

    Thank you!

                   

    Kenneth Linsley

    Science Program Specialist

    Georgia Department of Education

    1754 Twin Towers East

    205 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive SE

    Atlanta, GA 30334

    Office: (404) 657-0182

    www.gadoe.org

     

    “Educating Georgia’s Future”


  • 24 Nov 2015 8:17 PM | Jeremy Peacock (Administrator)

    GSTA Plays Key Role in Georgia's New Science Standards, New Foundation for STEM

    - Dr. Jeremy Peacock, President

    Dating back to our February meeting with Superintendent Woods and his top staff members, GSTA has played an active and role in the revision process for Georgia’s science standards. Throughout that work, we have advocated for standards that would provide a foundation for enhanced student learning by incorporating three features:
    1. Three-dimensional learning based on the science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts laid out in A Framework for K-12 Science Education,
    2. Incorporation of learning progressions that guide teachers’ expectations for student learning along each of the three dimensions of content, practices, and crosscutting concepts, and
    3. Solid connections to STEM and literacy to support student learning across disciplines and to prepare students for the 21st-Century workplace.
    With the committee work on the revisions having wrapped up, I am happy to report that we are well on our way toward achieving those goals. So, where are we now and how did we get here?

    As the image at right shows, the revision process was carried out by three levels of committees, all of which included GSTA members and leaders, made up of K-12 educators, higher education faculty, business representatives, and other stakeholders. All committee work was driven by the 9,300+ survey responses from Georgia science teachers, as well as input provided on the DOE’s stakeholder survey and by University System of Georgia (USG) content experts who sat on the revision committees. More specifically, revisions were based on the following ideas.
    1. The revision committees worked from the content standards in the existing Georgia Performance Standards. This is an important note, because it means that teachers will not be faced with wholesale changes to the content they are expected to teach in a particular grade level or course.
    2. Teachers called for the integration of the Characteristics of Science into the existing content standards. Parallel to that, stakeholders called for science content to be connected to scientific thinking and real-world applications.
    3. Teachers called for the revision process to draw on A Framework for K-12 Science Education and related standards.
    4. Teachers called for greater clarity in content expectations for their students.
    5. USG content experts provided input on the scientific accuracy, timeliness, and importance of concepts within the content standards.
    The figure at right illustrates how these inputs will translate into the following changes, which we can expect to see in the new Georgia Standards of Excellence for Science.
    1. Revision committees made significant efforts to clarify the content expectations within standards.  When warranted, the committees also provided clarification statements to guide instruction and student learning. These statements should allow teachers to focus on key concepts rather than surveying broad topics. In particular, efforts were made to provide clearer delineations between related concepts across grade levels.
    2. Given teachers’ preference to integrate characteristics of science and to draw on the Framework, the committees integrated science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts directly into the content standards. The result will be a set of three-dimensional standards that will require students to apply practices, crosscutting concepts, and core content to explain authentic phenomena and solve real-world problems. The practices were explicitly integrated at the standard and element level, while crosscutting concepts are implicit in many of the revised standards. The DOE science team is making plans to provide a range of documents to support implementation of the revised standards. Among those will be alignment documents for the crosscutting concepts and learning progressions that define expectations for each of the three dimensions across K-12 grade bands.
    3. The integration of science and engineering practices within the content standards brings a significant shift in the level of rigor in Georgia’s science standards. Holding students accountable to construct arguments, analyze data, and develop solutions—rather than simply describing, demonstrating, or identifying concepts—will raise expectations for all students in Georgia and give them a stronger foundation for college and career pursuits  following high school.
    4. The integration of science and engineering practices also provides an excellent foundation for STEM and literacy integration in the science classroom. The practices specifically include engineering dimensions and mathematical applications for science. In addition, some elements will specifically call for students to engage in the engineering design process as they learn and apply science concepts. Thus, the standards will provide a strong foundation for schools that wish to move toward integrated STEM instruction. At the same time, the practices include scientific communication practices, like asking questions, constructing explanations, and engaging in argument. To further emphasize the important connections between science and literacy, the revision committees used the practice of obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information as an overarching practice for each science standard. The remaining practices are incorporated into elements and will guide students in developing their mastery of each standard. This will focus student and teacher attention on the need to communicate as scientists and strengthen the connection to Georgia’s literacy standards. As this graphic from NSTA shows, the science and engineering practices also integrate well with the standards for mathematical practice and the student capacities that underlie the ELA standards.
    I think you will agree that these will all be positive changes for students, but I know you are eager to see the standards for yourself. So, when will you have that chance?  As the timeline here shows, the standards are set to be released for public review and comment in January 2016. We will alert our members as soon as that happens, and we strongly encourage science teachers to participate in the public comment period. GSTA will continue to follow and participate in the revision and implementation process, and we will work hard to support our members through a transition that will ultimately lead to more effective teaching and learning in Georgia’s science classrooms.
  • 27 Aug 2015 6:22 AM | Jeremy Peacock (Administrator)

    Science Standards Revision Update

    - Dr. Jeremy Peacock, President

    Stakeholder Survey - The DOE stakeholder survey remains open through September 15th.  Please encourage parents, professionals, community members, and others in your network to complete the stakeholder survey.  We hope stakeholders will agree that our revised science standards should integrate the characteristics and practices of science within science content standards.  Stakeholders can learn more about the revision process and GSTA's recommendations here: http://bit.ly/GSTA_AJC.  Stakeholders can access the GaDOE survey here: http://bit.ly/DOEcommunitysurvey.

    Preliminary Results of Teacher Survey - At last week's State Board of Education meeting, Dr. Charles Martin presented preliminary results from the teacher survey on Georgia's current science standards.  Dr. Martin is Director of the Center for Program Evaluation and Development at Georgia College and State University and led the survey analysis.  The main takeaway from the more than 9,000 survey responses is that Georgia's science teachers overwhelmingly want revised standards that integrate the practices and characteristics of science with science content.  You can view photos of Dr. Martin's summary slides on GSTA's Twitter feed for August 20th.  Detailed survey results will be provided to the revision working groups for each grade level/course, and those results will drive the revision process.  The number and nature of responses to the survey reflect the great work done by GSTA's board and members to provide feedback and spread the word among our colleagues.

    Revision Process Updates - The revision timeline remains unchanged from the one we published here on our Standards Updates Blog.  In line with that timeline, invitations went out this week to science teachers, science education leaders, and higher education faculty who will serve on the Working Committees that will be responsible for drafting the revised standards based on feedback from the teacher survey.  The working committees, which are organized by grade bands for elementary grades and by course for secondary grades, include many GSTA board and regular members.  I am confident that the revised standards drafted by this group will be a high quality product that will support excellent science teaching and meaningful learning for students.  Looking ahead in the revision timeline, the public review period beginning in January will be crucial to the success of the revision process.  It will be critical that GSTA members and other science teachers speak up themselves and encourage people in our networks to speak up in favor of the revisions.

    Professional Learning - Along with our active role in the revision process, the GSTA board is also working to position the organization as a key partner in implementation of the revised standards and the professional learning that will support that implementation.  Following last week's state Board of Education meeting, I met with Georgia's new Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Caitlin Dooley.  Dr. Dooley was supportive of GSTA's role in the revision process, and she was enthusiastic about partnering with GSTA to support teachers as we transition to our revised standards.  The GSTA board already has plans in motion to begin providing statewide professional learning focused on the three-dimensional approach that is expected to underlie the revised standards.  Look for more information from your district director in coming weeks.

  • 13 Aug 2015 9:00 AM | Jeremy Peacock (Administrator)

    After receiving feedback from K-12 educators and University System of Georgia faculty, GaDOE is now seeking input on the science standards from parents, professionals, community members, and current or recent K-12 students.  Please help us spread the word about this survey and educate stakeholders on changes we would like to see in our science standards.  Stakeholders will be asked to rate the standards on age-appropriateness, how well they define what students should know and be able to do, relevance to real-world application, rigor, and how well they prepare students for future opportunities.  We know that our current standards have limitations in many of these areas, and that students would benefit by making the following modifications to the standards.

    • A Framework for K-12 Science Education from the National Research Council should provide the foundation for any revisions to Georgia's current science standards.  This research-based framework delineates what students should know and be able to do across their K-12 science education, while leaving space for Georgia educators to address the particular needs of their students.  The Framework lays out three particular ideas that Georgia should incorporate into our revised science standards.
      • Georgia's standards should integrate the characteristics and processes of science with content standards.  Our current standards separate these components, and that separation contributes to a narrow focus on science facts at the expense of problem solving and critical thinking.  Standards that integrate science and engineering practices (e.g. designing investigations and analyzing data) and crosscutting concepts (i.e., big ideas like patterns) with core science content will help prepare our students not just to take a test at the end of the year but to apply their scientific knowledge to explain the natural world and solve real-world problems.
      • Student learning should build coherently from one grade to the next.  The Framework defines learning progressions for science content, practices, and crosscutting concepts.  These progressions should inform any revisions to Georgia's science standards.
      • The need for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professionals at all levels continues to increase in Georgia.  The Framework specifically integrates engineering and calls for the integration of mathematics and literacy into the science classroom.  Integrating these components into Georgia's revised science standards will truly prepare students to prosper in Georgia's increasingly technology-based economy.

    Please encourage people in your network to complete the stakeholder survey and to consider reflecting these recommendations in their responses.  Stakeholders can learn more about the revision process and GSTA's recommendations here: http://bit.ly/GeorgiaNextGenScience.  Stakeholders can access the GaDOE survey here: http://bit.ly/DOEcommunitysurvey.  You can read GaDOE's press release below.

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    Georgia Department of Education seeks feedback on Science, Social Studies standards

    MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358, mcardoza@gadoe.org

    August 12, 2015 The Georgia Department of Education is seeking public feedback as it conducts a review of the Science and Social Studies K-12 standards. After this process is complete, the new standards will be implemented in the 2017-18 school year.

    Click here to provide input on the current standards. This is a user-friendly, brief survey for professionals, parents and families, community members, students, and others.

    “Educators have already given us valuable feedback on the current standards, and we wanted to make sure the public had a chance to weigh in as well,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “I’m committed to ensuring guaranteed, viable standards – standards that are appropriate and fully vetted. That can’t be done without input from all education stakeholders.”

    Responses to this survey will be added to the educator responses and will be considered when Working Committees draft the revised standards.

    The deadline to submit responses is September 15 at midnight EST.

  • 22 Jul 2015 4:38 PM | Jeremy Peacock (Administrator)

    The teacher survey on Georgia's current science standards closed June 16th with more than 9,000 responses from teachers across the state. Those survey results are now in the hands of a team of faculty from the University System of Georgia (USG) who are analyzing the results and developing guidance for the revision process. This is part of a revision timeline set by GaDOE. As the revision process moves along, GSTA continues to work to make sure our members and our position on Georgia's science standards are represented in the process.  Here are some of the steps we have taken.

    • We are maintaining regular communication with GaDOE, including Superintendent Woods' senior staff.
    • We have nominated 26 GSTA leaders to serve on Working Committees, who will do the bulk of the work in translating the USG's recommendations into draft standards.
    • We are connecting with the business community to keep them informed and engaged in the revision process and, specifically, to build their understanding of and support for three-dimensional learning in science. Businesses are very receptive to this, as they see the benefits of future employees with greater problem solving skills.
    • We also continue to maintain contact with the State Board of Education, the Governor's office, and state legislators.
    • And, of course, we continue to keep you informed of any developments in the process. Check back on this blog and in eObservations for regular updates.
  • 22 May 2015 9:35 AM | Jeremy Peacock (Administrator)

    The word is getting out that the time has come to improve Georgia's science standards.  Part or all of GSTA's op-ed has been picked up in the following news outlets.

    Even with this great exposure, we need your help to spread the word.  What can you do?

    • Comment on or share the AJC post on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media.  Tag your posts with #GaNextGenSci.
    • Be a Voice of Support by submitting a comment to be posted on our standards webpage.
    • Be sure you have completed the DOE standards survey.  You can access the survey through our standards page
    • Share this information with you colleagues and encourage them to complete the survey.

    Thanks for your help!

    Jeremy


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    Jeremy Peacock, Ed.D.

    GSTA President

  • 21 May 2015 11:23 AM | Jeremy Peacock (Administrator)

    With a little leg work from Dr. Karen Henman, our District II Director, the Gainesville Times picked up on our op-ed and including some quotes in a story about the science and social studies standards revision.  The also provided some local context from a Hall County science teacher.  Read the article here.

  • 21 May 2015 10:47 AM | Jeremy Peacock (Administrator)
    I am very excited to announce that our op-ed on Georgia's science standards revision process has gone live on Maureen Downey's Get Schooled Blog.  As you will read, it's time for Georgia to move forward with science standards that support meaningful learning for all students.  Change never comes easy, though, so we need your help.  Please take a few minutes to add your voice to the conversation.
    1. Read the op-ed and leave a comment.  We would appreciate voices of support, and it would be especially valuable to share a story of how excellent science education can benefit the students in your classroom.
    2. Visit GSTA's standards site if you want to know more about the revision process and how you can get involved.
    3. Complete the DOE standards survey if you have not done so, already.  As it should, input from classroom teachers will guide the revision process.

    The entire board wishes you a successful end to the school year and a restful summer!  Please let me know if you have any questions about the revision process or the organization's role in that.

    Best regards,

    Jeremy

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