New science standards for pre-K-12

Schools across the state will be phasing in new science standards that set expectations for what students should know and be able to do from prekindergarten through grade 12.

 The new standards went into effect in July 2017, and will be phased in slowly over the course of several years, with full implementation by the 2020-21 school year. They replace science standards adopted back in 1996.

The state will also phase in a full set of Pre-K-12 learning standards, known as the  Next Generation Learning Standards, for math and English language arts over the next few years.

Adopted by the New York State Board of Regents in December 2016, the P-12 Science Learning Standards were developed over five years with input from teachers, administrators, business leaders and parents. The standards are based on frameworks established by the National Research Council and Achieve Inc.

Standards are not curriculum and don’t tell teachers how to teach. Rather, they are learning goals and expectations for what students should know and be able to do at each grade. Schools and teachers establish their own curricula and decide what to teach when and how, based on the state’s learning standards.

State tests will not change for a while

New state exams will need to be developed to align with the new standards, but no timeline has been set. Until then, 4th and 8th grade students will continue to take existing state exams in the spring, and all science-based Regents exams will stay the same.

More attention to real-world application and deeper knowledge

Students will explore and engage in science as it’s done in the real world, including through the introduction of engineering practices at all grade levels. They’ll also incorporate skills that scientists and engineers use every day to investigate and solve problems, such as asking questions, developing models and interpreting data. Students’ understanding will grow as they begin to see a clear connection between what they learn from one year to the next and across subjects, such as English and math.

Why new science standards were developed

  • To keep pace with a changing world:

There have been major advances in science and research on how students learn. Since the state’s previous standards were adopted in 1996.

  •  To better prepare students:

A strong foundation in science helps students think critically, analyze information and solve problems—skills that are necessary for their everyday lives.

  • To build a strong future workforce:

Nationwide, there are millions of unfilled positions in science, technology, engineering and math.