Next Generation Science Standards

Standards Based Grading and NGSS

My district is requiring all teachers to implement Standards-Based Grading.  All examples of SBG in science that I have found only address the content and do not address all three dimensions of NGSS.  I would love to see examples of lessons, report cards, assessments, etc. that are truly SBG and NGSS based.  Thanks.

Chris Embry Mohr
Chris Mohr
385 Activity Points

Hi Chris! The NGSS hub - - has added a lot of lesson plans for each of the grade levels aligned to all three dimensions of each of the NGSS. Individuals are working on adding more every week. It is a place for someone to start who needs help seeing how a specific DCI might be addressed and connected to the other two dimensions. I would love to hear from anyone who has tried one of these lessons. If there is enough interest, we could start a new discussion thread where we share what has been tried out and suggestions for how to make them even more effective. Best, Carolyn Mohr :-)

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86463 Activity Points

Carolyn just gave us the jackpot for lessons, experiments, etc! Thank you!

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
92289 Activity Points

    For the NASA Mars Education lessons we developed Instructional Objectives (IO) and Learning Outcomes (LO) for each lesson. The IO and LO's were written using the 3-D format of a Performance Expectation, but were more focused. We then wrote a rubric for each Learning Outcome and suggested that for assessment. We have gotten good feedback from teachers.
    You can find many example lessons, but I recommend looking at one example lesson for an activity called Astrobiobound. You can get the alignment document that shows all the alignments for NGSS, Common Core and Partnership for 21st Century Skills - so it is rather long and complete. The rubrics for NGSS for this lesson's LO's are toward the end on page 28. The rubrics for Common Core and 21st Century Skills are on following pages. You can also download the Astrobiobound Lesson for HS or MS.
     One caveat - we found that the verbs we used in the 3-D format came mostly from the Practices and most of those Practice verbs in NGSS called for lower-order thinking skills as measured by Blooms or Anderson and Krathwohl taxonomys. We substituted appropriate higher order thinking skill verbs for our IO's and LO's.
   I hope this is helpful. Other people (Ted Willard at NSTA and Joe Krajcik) are using a similar structure for lessons but are calling the Learning Outcome a Lesson Level Learning Performance - also written in 3-D format - or at least they were a few months ago.

Donald Boonstra
Donald Boonstra
8570 Activity Points

I really like this idea! I'm checking out the website, but would also like to be part of the discussion.

Jennifer Basalari
Jennifer Basalari
4690 Activity Points

I've planned and implemented 3D lessons over the course of the school year. I feel very comfortable with this moving forward, but I still can't get my head wrapped around standards based grading in science. I taught math for 11 years and I had a system in place for this. I think worked quite well. I think the key difference is knowing what mastery looks like for the standards. Do we look at the PE, SEP, and CCC separately or altogether? I use the entire standards document (including the appendix) along with the framework constantly.

Jeanette Kimbro
Jeanette Kimbro
605 Activity Points

This is what I am doing. My standards are going to be the Science practices primarily

(*I have incorporated SP5 Mathematics into all of the practices*)

(I have used the combined Crosscutting concepts suggested in the appendices):


Standard 1: SP1 - Asking questions

Standard 2: SP2 - Modeling

Standard 3: SP3 - Planning and carrying out an investigation

Standard 4: SP4 - Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Standard 5: SP6+7 - Constructing Explanations and Argumentation

Standard 6: SP8 - Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information

Standard 7: CC2+6 - Determining Causality

Standard 8: CC3,4,5+7 - Defining the System

Standard 9: CC1 - Patterns

Notice I am not using the DCIs as standards instead the content presents itself "thru the lens" of the practices and the cross-cutting concepts.


Overall each Unit I hope to have the following steps:

1. Present a Phenomena

2. Standard 1 --> Asking questions

3. Create an Initial Model and Explanation 

4. Some sort of ADI - like lab (Standards 3, 4, and 5)

5. Modeling - Standard 2

6. Some fill in the gaps type of instruction using Standard 6 - Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information

7. Investigate the Cross-Cutting concepts - Standards 7, 8, 9

8. Finish up with a Final Model and Explanation of the phenomenon - Standards 2+5


I'd love some feedback,


Michael Szczepanik
Mike Szczepanik
75 Activity Points

I am interested in this as well. We are developing a standards based report card for grades K - 8 and we are having a lot of difficulty with science. I would appreciate anything including ideas, samples, what's worked, what's not worked from others in this same situation.

Kathleen Nicholson
Kathleen Nicholson
2695 Activity Points

I'm having a difficult time finding examples of standards based progress reports aligned to NGSS. Does anyone have examples? We've looked at it two ways: 1) use PEs, which makes it challenging to determine what to give a student who has not demonstrated the same level of understanding of each part of a given PE, or 2) list all the SEPs, CCCs, and DCIs, which is makes the report card extremely lengthy.

Diane Hart
Diane Hart
10 Activity Points

Great conversation, all.

Mike, I love your suggestion. I have been leaning more towards using the practices as a means of assessing student work. One advantage to this, from a standards-based grading perspective, is that it allows more time for students to build and demonstrate proficiency over the course of an entire school year. I really want my students to understand that mastering these practices is critical, and that they are the lense through which all of the natural world can be studied.

My biggest struggle with identifying content standards is that they are too large (i.e., DCIs) or too small (specific learning objectives).

  • I've tried using standards-based-grading with standards that were too fine-grained, and it did not allow enough time to give students multiple attempts to demonstrate mastery. Before we knew it, we'd moved onto another learning objective, and I couldn't allocate more time for reassessing those who hadn't achieved proficiency yet
  • I've tried using bigger umbrella standards (i.e., Chemical Reactions), but they are not specific enough to provide students with meaningful feedback (i.e., what DO/DON'T you understand ABOUT Chemical Reactions). .

This year I am leaning towards splitting the difference between large content standards (DCIs) and small content standards (learning objectives). So as not to reinvent the wheel, I will try using the disciplinary component or subcomponent ideas, which I've outlined here for the Performance Expectations my school's 8th grade teachers have been assigned to teach:

My students will have learned about (in theory) 7 disciplinary core ideas, broken down into a total of 16 component ideas, and 48 subcomponent ideas. 16 "disciplinary component ideas" over the course of the year sounds manageable, as long as I can spell out for students what it means to demonstrate a proficient understanding of each of them.

Diane, I know it seems like it would be a lengthy report card — and it would be by the end of a year, depending on how many DCIs and SEPs were addressed. But since they would be rolled out over the course of multiple quarters/terms, maybe it wouldn't be so overwhelming/lengthy at the beginning.

Matthew Clarke
Matthew Xlarke
35 Activity Points

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