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Center for Instructional Support

Science and Technology/Engineering

In Massachusetts, science education includes life science, physical science, earth and space science, and technology/ engineering. Science is way of knowing and understanding the natural and designed world.

The science and technology/engineering standards are intended to drive engaging, relevant, rigorous, and coherent instruction that emphasizes student mastery of both disciplinary core ideas (concepts) and application of science and engineering practices (skills) to support student readiness for citizenship, college, and careers.

STE Learning Standards

Statewide Science Assessments (MCAS)

Below is information regarding the "overlapping" standards from the 2001/06 and 2016 Science and Tech/Eng standards that will be assessed on the 2018 MCAS Grade 5 and Grade 8 STE tests. The 2018 test will consist of items that align to both sets of standards. The focus of the test questions will be on the overlapping content and skills between the two sets of standards. The 2017 test will be based on the 2001/06 STE standards.

STE High Quality Instruction Materials

STE Open Access Professional Learning (OAPL)

DESE is pleased to offer Massachusetts PK–12 educators and administrators high-quality professional development in science topics, from highly qualified providers through OAPL.

STE Instructional Resources

Professional Development Resources
This overview slide deck can be easily modified to meet your district training needs. It is designed to provide an overview of the 2016 STE standards and includes the following sections:
  • Understanding the Vision and Goals of the Massachusetts STE Standards
  • Framework Components
  • Overview of the Standards
  • Resources
General PD Planning Guidance This site is a resource for professional development leaders to support the development of high quality professional development. It includes case studies and tools to support professional development planning and assessment.

Curriculum Planning Tools
This Connections document is a resource for educators and curriculum planners to draw from as they look for intersections between the 2016 Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework, the 2017 Mathematics Curriculum Framework, and the 2017 ELA/Literacy Curriculum Framework. Educators are encouraged to use this tool to purposefully plan, align, and recognize relationships across content to strengthen learning for all students.
These documents are crosswalks of the MA 2016 Science and Technology/Engineering Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards' (NGSS) Performance Expectations and Disciplinary Core Ideas. These crosswalks will be most useful to educators and/or administrators reviewing curriculum for MA alignment, or publishers aligning curriculum to the MA 2016 STE Framework.
A key question for transitioning to the 2016 STE standards is "what's different?" DESE has developed crosswalk documents that show the alignment between the 2001/2006 STE Standards and 2016 STE Standards. Teachers and administrators can use these documents for curriculum planning.
Strand Maps of 2016 MA Science and Technology/Engineering Standards Strand maps illustrate the conceptual relationship between standards within and across grades that allow for targeted pre-assessment, contextualization, and/or identification of boundaries for any particular standard that is being taught. They can be an efficient way to visualize how concepts progress over time and how curriculum and instruction can productively relate standards to support student learning. Schools and districts have found strand maps to be particularly useful in vertical team meetings, curriculum mapping workshops, and interdisciplinary meetings.
Piloting new curriculum? DESE has developed a rubric to help educators determine the quality, rigor, and alignment of lessons and units to the 2016 MA STE Curriculum Framework.

DESE has identified five components districts should attend to when designing a rigorous, coherent and relevant pre-K–12 STE education program. Educators, administrators and curriculum designers can refer to this guide for brief descriptions and resources for each component.

This guide provides recommendations for the integration of the Technology/Engineering Standards into typical High School STE course sequences.

This resource provides recommendations for high-quality science in the elementary classroom.

This guide supports educators in understanding and using phenomena in their classrooms.

Classroom Resources
Instructional Guidelines The intention of these documents is to help provide additional guidance around the instruction and content of the Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) standards. The selected standards represent a sample and should not be used as a complete curriculum guide. The standards in these documents were selected based on the new content or frequently asked questions from the field and should not be considered as more important than other standards. This guidance is aligned with the assessment expectations of the next-generation MCAS test based on the 2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework . The information provided in these documents are not an exhaustive list of what will be assessed on the MCAS test. These documents may be updated as necessary; please refer to the revision dates on the bottom of each document.
Prek–2 Instructional Guidelines These guidelines provide guidance for planning, aligning, and implementing curriculum that addresses the Pre-K through grade 2 learning standards.

STEM Ambassador Program The STEM Ambassador partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the STEM Education Center at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) supported Massachusetts Math and Science educators to develop high-quality standards aligned tasks grades 4–8 for math and 6–12 for science.
STE Model Curriculum Units (MCUs) These MCUs were created by teams of teachers from across the Commonwealth with guidance and support from DESE curriculum and content specialists. All MCUs were developed using the Understanding by Design process and Massachusetts' educators/districts are encouraged to adopt the units as they are, adapt the units to meet their curriculum needs, and/or use the units as models for developing their own STE units.
What to Look For Observation Guides "What to Look For" guides describe what observers can expect to see in a classroom at a particular grade level in science. The front page outlines content and skills from grade level standards that students will be learning in the classroom. The back page outlines key features related to the MA teacher rubric to use as a guide for collecting evidence in planning and instruction.

STE Networks and Associations

Contact the STE Team

NamePhone Number
Nicole Scola781-338-3585
Casandra Gonzalez781-338-3542
Alex Jones781-338-3540

Last Updated: October 3, 2022

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.