Arkansas K-12 Science Standards
In 2011, Arkansas became one of 26 states to lead the development of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Arkansas's lead state process included a consideration of conceptual shifts in science education.
Science standards should:
- reflect science as it is practiced and experienced in the real world.
- build coherently from Kindergarten through Grade 12.
- focus on deeper understanding as well as application of content.
- integrate core ideas, practices, and crosscutting concepts.
- make explicit connections to literacy and math.
On April 10, 2014, the Arkansas State Board of Education unanimously voted to endorse the NGSS as a basis for the development of new K-12 science standards. The endorsement authorized the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) to develop the NGSS into standards that fit Arkansas's curriculum mandates. When completed, Arkansas’s new science standards will reflect the conceptual shifts and represent what students should know and be able to achieve.
Since the State Board endorsement, work has been underway to help prepare districts to implement the new Arkansas K-12 Science Standards in their classrooms. ADE leadership has developed a timeline and a statewide implementation plan for the new standards.
Implementation of the Arkansas K-12 Science Standards will begin by phasing in the new science standards into Grades K-4 in 2016-17, followed by Grades 5-8 in 2017-18 and Grades 9-12 in 2018-19. Professional development will continue to be provided to support schools in making these transitions. Science education is essential to preparing students for college and career.
The successful implementation of new science standards requires a partnership among Arkansas stakeholders, educators, parents, and students. This partnership will insure access to a quality science education for all students.