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Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

Massachusetts' Adaptation of Next Generation Science Standards

The MA Draft Revised STE Standards are based on the NGSS but are an adaptation of NGSS. Both sets of standards have significant common foundations:

  • Coherent progressions of disciplinary core ideas as well as science and engineering practices
  • Integration of core ideas and practices in standards
  • Grade-by-grade standards
  • Inclusion of engineering
  • Explicit links to math and ELA standards
  • Conceptual focus

To allow educators and districts to access benefits of commonality across states, including use NGSS-aligned resources created elsewhere, the MA adaptation reflects NGSS as much as possible. This includes using the same coding/numbering system for standards and keeping K-5 standards in the grades NGSS assigned them to.

Yet public input from across the Commonwealth during the development of NGSS identified several aspects that needed some adaptation for Massachusetts. This table summarizes several key:

NGSSMA Adaptation
Standards include 4 dimensions (disciplinary core ideas, practices, crosscutting concepts, nature of science)Standards include only 2 dimensions (disciplinary core ideas and practices)
Standards are broadly written, leading to inconsistent interpretationBalances broad concepts with specificity to inform more consistent interpretation
Standards require reference to the foundation boxes to identify full range of expected learning.Standards can stand on their own without need to reference foundation boxes.
Middle school presented as grade spanMiddle school presented grade-by-grade
Engineering design as occasional application of scienceTechnology/Engineering as a discipline
No definition for college and career readiness; all high school courses expectedDefines college and career readiness for STE; maintains current MA model with high school course options

To implement these adaptations, Massachusetts has made edits to the wording of NGSS standards, made several adjustments to the scope of NGSS, and the middle and high school model presented in NGSS to increase consistency of interpretation, reduce the reliance on NGSS foundation boxes, and address college and career readiness.



Last Updated: January 9, 2014
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