Next Generation Science Standards

On June 25, 2013 the Maryland State Board of Education adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a set of rigorous and internationally benchmarked standards for K-12 science education. Twenty-six states including Maryland and their broad-based lead teams worked collaboratively with a 41-member writing team and partners throughout the country to develop the NGSS. Since that time, educators from around the state have met to determine the best way for Maryland teachers to transition from the existing Maryland State Curriculum to the NGSS.

Next Generation Science Standards for Today’s Students and Tomorrow’s Workforce

Next Generation Science Standards logo

The links in this section take you to the Next Generation Science Standards website where you will find comprehensive descriptions of the standards, the process of developing the standards and resources to better understand and teach them.

The NGSS are composed of the three dimensions from the NRC Framework. The National Research Council’s (NRC) Framework describes a vision of what it means to be proficient in science; it rests on a view of science as both a body of knowledge and an evidence-based, model and theory building enterprise that continually extends, refines, and revises knowledge. It presents three dimensions that will be combined to form each standard:

Dimension 1: Practices
The practices describe behaviors that scientists engage in as they investigate and build models and theories about the natural world and the key set of engineering practices that engineers use as they design and build models and systems.

The NRC uses the term practices instead of a term like "skills" to emphasize that engaging in scientific investigation requires not only skill but also knowledge that is specific to each practice. Part of the NRC's intent is to better explain and extend what is meant by "inquiry" in science and the range of cognitive, social, and physical practices that it requires.

Dimension 2: Crosscutting Concepts
Crosscutting concepts describe concepts that bridge disciplinary boundaries, having explanatory value throughout much of science and engineering. These crosscutting concepts have application across all domains of science. They are a way of linking the different domains of science. The seven crosscutting concepts include: Patterns; Cause and effect; Scale, proportion and quantity; Systems and system models; Energy and matter: Flows, cycles, and conservation; Structure and function; Stability and change. The Framework emphasizes that these concepts need to be made explicit for students because they provide an organizational schema for interrelating knowledge from various science fields into a coherent and scientifically-based view of the world.

Dimension 3: Disciplinary Core Ideas
Next Generation Science StandardsDisciplinary core ideas have the power to focus K–12 science curriculum, instruction, and assessments on the most important aspects of science. To be considered core, the ideas met at least two of the following criteria and ideally all four:

Have broad importance across multiple sciences or engineering disciplines or be a key organizing concept of a single discipline;

Provide a key tool for understanding or investigating more complex ideas and solving problems;

Relate to the interests and life experiences of students or be connected to societal or personal concerns that require scientific or technological knowledge; Be teachable and learnable over multiple grades at increasing levels of depth and sophistication.

Disciplinary ideas are grouped in four major domains: physical sciences; the life sciences; the earth and space sciences; and engineering, technology and applications of science.

There are three ways to view the standards:

Contacts - Science Team Bios

Mary C. H. Weller
Coordinator for Science
Division of Curriculum, Instructional Improvement and Professional Learning
Phone: 410-767-0329       Fax: 410-333-1146

Jeremy Haack
Science Specialist
Division of Curriculum, Instructional Improvement and Professional Learning
Phone: 410-767-4663       Fax: 410-333-1146

Kirsten Jackson
Environmental Literacy Specialist
Division of Curriculum, Instructional Improvement and Professional Learning
Phone: 410-767-0323     Fax: 410-333-1146

Jeremy R. Marcus-Wenger
Science Assessment Specialist
Division of Assessment, Accountability and Information Technology
Phone: 410-767-0860  Fax:410-333-0052 

Science Surveys

Maryland Department of Commerce logo


The Maryland Department of Commerce just launched Maryland STEM Connect, a repository of Federal and Military agency STEM programs in the form of an interactive database. The purpose of this initiative is to demonstrate and promote the many diverse STEM activities to educators, students and parents. Federal agencies, from NASA to Fort Meade, offer engaging activities to encourage students from all ages to pursue STEM education and careers. We request that our educational partners help us promote this initiative by reaching out to your community.

From pre-K summer camps to high school apprenticeships, students of all ages in Maryland have endless opportunity to explore the world of STEM. See the variety of programs hosted at Maryland’s military & federal institutions.

STEM Connect - Maryland STEM Programs Database
STEM Connect - Maryland STEM Programs Database

Maryland Common Core State Literacy for Science & Technical Subjects Frameworks
Literacy development is essential for students to access and learn disciplinary content and must be a shared responsibility across all daily instruction when and where appropriate. With Maryland’s adoption of the Common Core standards, teachers in all subject areas will build discipline-specific literacy into daily instruction when and where appropriate.​

Disciplinary Literacy Frameworks

Reading Standards for Literacy in Science & Technical Subjects

Writing Standards for Literacy in Science & Technical Subjects

MISA: Maryland Integrated Science Assessment
MISA: Maryland Integrated Science Assessment

Web Resources