Implementation Timeline for the NGSS in NC
At the spring NCSLA meeting on April 27, Dr. Angela Quick, Deputy Chief Academic Officer at DPI shared a timeline for NC's implementation of the NGSS that allows all grades to prepare for the rigor required by the NGSS. Planning for implementation is evolving. Pending State Board of Education approval, the NGSS roll out in North Carolina will begin by the end of 2014. Some schools or districts as first adopters will partner with DPI as learning labs. The larger roll out will be in 2015-16 for the whole state. A detailed NC strategic plan is forthcoming in the fall. Until the NGSS adoption, the current Essential Science Standards will guide the transition by connecting what we are teaching with changes that will align our practices with the NGSS.
Dr. Quick presented some critical issues that must be addressed in the current planning phase. The state budget for education has been cut, and money from the Federal government has not been allocated for NGSS adoption by the states. Another key issue is the lack of a national assessment for science that aligns with the NGSS. In addition informational messages need to be delivered to various audiences throughout the state, including legislators, businesses and LEAs. These messages will highlight successes of states that are early adopters and dispel myths about the NGSS.
State Assessments Today and Beyond
NCDPI Accountability Services is changing what we think of as "State Assessments." In the NCSLA professional development session on April 27, Dr. Tammy Howard, Director of Accountability Services at DPI, presented key elements of current assessments and what we will see with the anticipated adoption of the Next Generation of Science Standards. For instance, with the NGSS we will have more innovative use of summative tools. In addition to current summative "bubble-in" multiple-choice items, we will see constructed response items, performance tasks and computer adaptive testing.
Until the State Board of Education adopts the NGSS, NC DPI Accountability Services cannot develop these types of NGSS science assessment. Items that are currently being developed for science are aligned to the Essential Standards. Dr. Howard stated that since the content is the same in the Essential Standards and the NGSS time and money spent of developing assessments for ES would continue to be useful.
During the session, members participated in an open discussion as technology enhanced released items were presented for review. Participants provided feedback to Dr. Howard about the sample items. Measures of Student Learning (MSL's) are one source that teachers can use for assessment. Since they are scored at the school level, they provide an excellent form of professional development. Teachers' conversations around the students' responses and agreement on scoring give teachers insight into the content and students' misconceptions.
Accountability Services requests content people for item writing. Applications will be available in late summer or early fall.
Submitted by Cathy Wallwork