West Virginia Board of Education Places State Science Standards on Public Comment

January 14, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) today voted to place a version of the West Virginia Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives for Science (Policy 2520.3C) which is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) on comment for 30 days. The decision came after the board was made aware of concerns related to the version of the policy adopted last month.

West Virginia Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives for Science were generated from the NGSS. West Virginia was one of 26 lead states to set the NGSS. As a lead state partner, West Virginia guided the standard writing process, gathered and delivered feedback from state-level committees and came together to address common issues and challenges.

In October, the state's science standards were placed on public comment. In December, after being on public comment for 30 days, the West Virginia science standards were adopted.

"During the public comment period, we received minimal feedback," said Gayle Manchin, WVBE president. "However, it became obvious individuals were not aware of the updates made to the policy prior to the comment period. As a board, we applaud the opportunity to grow and learn. This is how we learn and how students learn. We always encourage discovery and debate."

The West Virginia science standards describe - at each grade from kindergarten through fifth grade, at middle school and at high school - what each student should know in the four domains of science: physical science; life science; earth and space science; and engineering, technology and science application.

The science standards allow students to think of science learning not as memorization of disconnected facts but as a holistic understanding of integrated concepts. The standards require students to provide evidence of their learning and will equip students with the critical thinking and analytical skills they need to be successful in college and to compete for today's most rewarding jobs.

In addition, the new standards focus on student diversity and equity. The standards also build on each other, meaning that material students learn in one year impacts what they learn in the years that follow. Lastly, when students are learning science, they are also enhancing their skills in reading, writing and mathematics.

Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives for Science (Policy 2520.3C) will become effective in July 2016. Districts, schools and teachers will use these standards to determine their own curriculum which includes how the standards and objectives will be taught throughout the year.

To make comment on the policy, please visit http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/ beginning early next week. For more information contact the WVDE Communication Office at 304-558-2699.

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