A list of Frequently Asked Questions about Policy 2520.3C, The Next Generation of Content Standards and Objectives for Science in West Virginia Schools, has been provided below. Click a question of interest at the top of the page to be taken to the specific question and answer further down on the page. Then click hyperlinked number which precedes the Q & A to be returned to the top of the page where you may repeat the process.
1. When will Policy 2520.3C be implemented?
Policy 2520.3C will be implemented in the 2016-17 school year. The new science graduation requirements will pertain the freshmen class which begins in 2016. Beginning in the fall of 2016, the Content Standards and Objectives of the policy will apply to all science courses listed in the policy.
2. Will Conceptual or Level II science courses be part of the course offerings in Policy 2520.3C- Conceptual Biology, Conceptual Chemistry, Conceptual Physics, Biology II, Chemistry II, or Physics II?
No, there has been a reduction in the number of science courses offered in the policy. The course offerings include:
Students may also take AP Science Courses or Dual Credit science courses to meet graduation requirements.
Student enrollment data across the state did not support the continuation of 4 levels of biology (Biology, Conceptual Biology, Biology II, and AP Biology), 4 levels of Chemistry, or 4 levels of Physics.
Counties wanting to offer additional science courses may write CSOs (or use the ones currently in Policy 2520.35), have the CSOs approved by their County Boards of Education, and submit the CSOs along with their Board approval to the WVDE and request a Course Code. Courses approved on the county level may not count as one of the 3 science graduation requirements. Science graduations requirements must be in Policy 2520.3C or be an AP Science or Dual Credit science course.
3. Which of the high school science course will count as "lab courses"?
The WV Higher Education Policy Commission has issued the following statement, "All of the high school courses in the new Policy 2520.3C will be counted as lab sciences courses." However, each college and university exercises its professional judgment in determining institutional admission standards. Students, their parents, and school counselors are encouraged to contact technical schools, colleges, and universities to determine admission requirements and recommendations as students develop their Personalized Education Plans and schedule high school science courses.
4. Will 11th grade students be required to take either Physical Science or Chemistry, or may they take another science course (anatomy, physics, environmental, forensics, etc.)?
Physical Science is recommended as the 3rd science for students not pursuing a STEM path, because it will give students an understanding of the third major strand of science on a high school level. And, students intending to pursue a STEM path should be encouraged to take Chemistry as their third science, followed by Physics their senior year, because this will give them a deeper understanding of the Physical Sciences and prepare them for more in-depth studies. Students should contact technical schools, colleges, and universities to determine admission requirements and recommendations as they develop their Personalized Education Plans and schedule high school science courses.
With that being said, juniors are not required to take a Physical Science or Chemistry course as their third science; Human Anatomy & Physiology, Environmental Science, Forensic Science, and Physics are options as a third science graduation requirement. Dual Credit Science and AP Science Courses are also options.
5. Will students who have already successfully completed Physical Science 9 be able to take the new physical science class proposed for 11-12 to fulfill one of their required science classes?
No, juniors will be required to take a third science from Policy 2520.3C which they have not already taken. The course codes did not change and students are not allowed to receive credit for the same course twice. Their course options include:
6. Will juniors and seniors still be able to take the Earth and Space Science?
Students who have not already taken and passed an Earth and Space Science Course may take the course to fulfill one of their required science graduation requirements.
It is a local decision as to whether they allow anyone other than freshmen to take the course and if freshmen and upperclassmen are in the same classes.
7. If this year’s freshmen fail the physical science course, do they re-take the physical science course or take the Earth and Space Science with next year’s incoming freshmen class?
This is a local decision. The student may make up the course and continue with the science graduation requirements of their cohort, OR they may take the Earth and Space Science and meet the science graduation requirements of the incoming cohort of students.
8. Why will Earth and Space Science be a freshmen requirement?
The High School Subcommittee which included chemistry and physics teachers and professors from Higher Education began by recognizing the importance of each strand of science- Earth and Space Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. They acknowledged that while many students were graduating with one, two, and sometimes three courses in the physical sciences, most students were graduating with no Earth and Space Science on the high school level. The subcommittee recommended delaying the Physical Science, Chemistry, and Physics courses until after students have had the math skills to be successful in those courses.
Reasons for including the Earth and Space Science as a graduation requirement and beginning high school with the Earth and Space Science course are listed below.
9. What certifications are needed to teach the ESS course?
With the implementation of Policy 2520.3C in the 2016-17 school year, WV instructors with endorsements to teach the current ninth-grade physical science will be considered certified to teach the required new ninth-grade Earth and Space Science (ESS) course. Those endorsements are 2500, 2600, 2700, 2710, 2800, 2900, and 2910. The WVEIS Course Code Manual which lists Endorsement Codes and endorsements requirements for each science course is available here.
Recognizing that teachers eligible to teach the course have varying levels of expertise and training specifically in Earth and Space Science, the West Virginia Department of Education will provide multiple resources that will enable teachers to prepare to implement the new science course. Those resources include online and regional-based professional development and technical assistance. As information about these and other resources and PDs become available, it will be shared on the Superintendent’s Weekly Update, the WVDE Science listserv, and the Teachers Ops website. If you would like to be added to the WVDE Science listserv, please contact Science Coordinator Robin Sizemore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. It was said there would be NxGen Training through the RESAs this summer, any idea of length of the training and the like?
RESA-based orientations for the new math, ELA, and science will be held during June, July, or August. There will be a 3-hour orientation for the NxGen and also a 3-hour Earth and Space Science specific training; contact your RESA for more information.
11. When will details be coming about the Earth/Space Science summer course?
During the RESA-based Summer Trainings, there will be a 3-hour Earth and Space Science specific training; contact your RESA for more information.
Once the details of the Online ESS Course are determined, the information will be shared on the Superintendent’s Weekly Update, the WVDE Science listserv, and the Teacher Ops webpage. Because, it is not appropriate to overwhelm teachers with listserv blasts each time something is posted on the WV NxGen Science website, educators are encouraged to periodically check the site and the Teacher Ops webpage for new information which is important to them.
12. Will approved textbooks and teaching materials lists for purchase in 2016-2017 school year be available?
Yes, one of the reasons for the delay in implementing the new policy was to ensure that Instructional Materials could be adopted and in the classrooms for the implementation of the new standards. The list of materials which met the criteria was approved by the Board in November 2015; information about approved instructional materials is available here- https://wvde.state.wv.us/materials/ .
13. Will RESA coordinators have access to these resources?
If you are referring to the NxGen Science- many NxGen Science resources are available online, and an internet search will net you some which must be purchased and some which are free. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is just one of many organizations which support the NGSS, and it has lesson plans and other resources available online and in their monthly publications.
The WV NxGen Science website was created in the fall of 2015 so educators could begin the process of becoming familiar with the new standards and other resources to help them understand and use the new standards. Teachers should begin with the General Overview and watch the videos and access the PDFs which have been embedded there. They should continue to the other Overviews specific to their programmatic level and content.
If you mean instructional materials which counties may purchase for classrooms- those materials may be different from County to County since there are multiple choices on the approved list of instructional materials.
14. When and how will science resources be distributed?
Counties are in the process of reviewing, selecting and adopting Science Instructional Materials for 2016-2017. Teachers should contact their county office to find out when the new Science instructional materials will be available and if there is any science-specific professional development scheduled through their county or RESA.
The Instructional Materials Multiple list may be found here: http://wveis.k12.wv.us/nclb/Materials/public15/Mainmenu.cfm
15. When do educators get time to become familiar with these (NxGen Science) materials?
The WV NxGen Science website was created last fall so educators could begin the process of becoming familiar with the new standards and other resources to help them understand and use the new standards. Teachers should begin with the General Overview and watch the videos and access the PDFs which have been embedded there. They should continue to the other Overviews specific to their programmatic level and content.
The instructional materials for science should be in the classrooms for the 2016-17 school year unless a county chooses to delay adoption of the new materials.
Counties have the option of requesting that publishers conduct trainings within counties for the materials they purchase. Please contact your county for more information.
16. It would be nice to have some training this summer before we start back to school so that we don't feel overwhelmed.
WVDE will assist with RESA-based orientations for the new math, ELA, and science will be held during June, July, or August, and counties may provide additional PD- it is a local decision. See your RESA for more information.
When details of the Earth and Space Science Online Course and other NxGen Professional Learning opportunities are finalized, the information will be shared on the Superintendent’s Weekly Update and the Teacher Ops webpage. Educators are encouraged to periodically check the Teacher Ops webpage for new information which is important to them.
17. Considering that the NxGen standards are designed as stepping stones, are we going to be offered collaboration time to actually design how it will actually work in the schools?
That is a local decision.
18. There is nothing in the new standards that relates to a percentage of time that should be or recommended to be hands-on. How might teachers be encouraged enhance lectures with hands-on experiments?
Because objectives in Policy 2520.3C have specific language which directs experiential or hands-on learning, the committee did not feel that the 50% hands-on reference was still needed in the paragraphs which describe each science course. See examples below:
As students actually do the science described in the objectives (not simply read about the scientists who did) appropriate hands-on experiences and learning will occur.
19. I noticed the legislature stated that effective July 1 there will be no assessment based on NGSS. What does that mean for us? I am hoping that means it will be based on the WV version of NGSS. I have been working hard this year transitioning to the new standards!
At this point in time, there have been no changes to the planned roll-out for the NxGen Science. West Virginia General Summative Assessment will test science in the 1 grade level per programmatic level.