Nick Fetty | August 7, 2015
The Iowa Education Board voted unanimously Thursday to implement new science standards for K-12 public schools in the state.
Iowa is the 15th state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which “spell out science-based knowledge and skills that students should possess at each grade level.” The new standards focus less on memorization and more on other skills such as “analyzing data, developing a model and constructing a logical argument.” Students will also now be required to take an engineering course, previously offered only as an elective.
The adoption the new standards met some resistance by an Iowa House bill which aimed to block the new standards for “miss[ing] some key math and science concepts, present[ing] evolution as scientific fact and shine[ing] a negative light on human impacts on climate change.” The bill was defeated earlier this year.
A study by the American Society of Human Genetics found that the NGSS were effective at covering 10 out of 19 core genetics concepts compared to previous state standards that only covered about five core concepts.
Iowa along with 26 other states and the National Academy of Sciences teamed up in 2013 to develop the NGSS.
Other states that have adopted NGSS: Arkansas (for middle school), California, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.