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Next Generation Science Standards for English Language Learners. Washington Association of Bilingual Education May 11, 2012 Okhee Lee New York University. Topics. Diversity Changing demographics Persistent science achievement gaps National Initiatives Next Generation Science Standards

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next generation science standards for english language learners

Next Generation Science Standards for English Language Learners

Washington Association of Bilingual Education

May 11, 2012

Okhee Lee

New York University

  • Diversity
    • Changing demographics
    • Persistent science achievement gaps
  • National Initiatives
    • Next Generation Science Standards
    • Understanding Language

3. What (Science) Teachers Need to Know and Do with ELLs


According to the 2010 U.S. Census:

  • 36% of the U.S. population are minorities
  • 45% of the U.S. population under 19 years old are minorities

U.S. Census Bureau. (2012). Statistical abstract of the United States, 2012. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Accessed online at

  • Poverty gaps by race narrowed from 1970 to 2000
  • Poverty gaps by race have persisted since 2000

U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009, Current Population Reports, series P60-238, and Historical Tables -- Tables 2 and 6, September 2010.

Accessed online at

  • Today, over 1 in 5 students (21%) speak a language other than English at home
  • Limited English Proficient (LEP) students (the federal term) have more than doubled from 5% in 1993 to 11% in 2007

National Center for Education Statistics. (2011). The condition of education 2011 (NCES 2011-033). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

diversity persistent achievement gaps

Diversity:Persistent Achievement Gaps

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in Science

4th grade

8th grade

12th grade

National Center for Education Statistics. (2011). The nation’s report card: Science 2009. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

your thoughts
Your Thoughts

What does the information about changing demographics and persistent achievement gaps urge you to think about your own practices?

  • School-aged students from racial or ethnic minority backgrounds will soon become the majority in terms of number, although they are likely to remain minorities in terms of status.
  • The ELL student population is increasing.
  • Achievement gaps persist.
  • We have kept pace, but how can get ahead of the curve (i.e., close the gaps)?
national initiatives

National Initiatives:

1. Next Generation Science Standards2. Understanding Language

lots of work completed underway and left to do




Teacher Development

Lots of Work Completed, Underway, and Left To Do

Completed Underway Left To Do

next generation science standards ngss
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
  • “A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas” (National Research Council, 2011) is guiding development of NGSS
  • Achieve, Inc. is overseeing the development
  • The design team consists of classroom teachers, state and district supervisors, faculty from higher education institutions, and representatives from the private sector
  • Currently, 26 states have signed with state teams to provide feedback to the NGSS design team
  • There will be public release of drafts for feedback
  • The first draft of NGSS is expected in early 2013
shifts in the ngss
Shifts in the NGSS
  • Standards as performance expectations
  • Science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts are continuums
  • Greater focus on understanding and application of content as opposed to memorization of scientific facts
  • Science concepts build over K-12
  • Integration of science and engineering
  • Coordination with Common Core State Standards in English language arts (ELA) and math
dimension 1 science and engineering practices
Dimension 1:Science and Engineering Practices
  • Ask questions (for science) and define problems (for engineering)
  • Develop and use models
  • Plan and carry out investigations
  • Analyze and interpret data
  • Use mathematics and computational thinking
  • Construct explanations (for science) and design solutions (for engineering)
  • Engage in argument from evidence
  • Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information
dimension 2 crosscutting concepts
Dimension 2:Crosscutting Concepts
  • Patterns
  • Cause and effect
  • Scale, proportion, and quantity
  • Systems and system models
  • Energy and matter
  • Structure and function
  • Stability and change
dimension 3 disciplinary core ideas
Dimension 3:Disciplinary Core Ideas
  • Physical sciences
  • Life sciences
  • Earth and space sciences
  • Engineering, technology and applications of science
diversity and equity all standards all students tentative title
Diversity and Equity:All Standards, All Students (Tentative Title)
  • Standards Statements

- To reflect diversity and equity issues

- To avoid bias

  • Stand-alone Chapter

- Context (demographics, achievement, policy)

- Implementation (classroom/school, home/community)

- Teacher professional development

  • Vignettes of Specific Student Groups

- Story

- Context

- Implementation: Effective strategies

implications for diversity and equity for example practices
Implications for Diversity and Equity:For Example, Practices
  • From hands-on science, to science inquiry, to science and engineering practices
  • Inter-related to one another in the sense-making process
  • Relatively unfamiliar to most science teachers today and require shifts for teaching
  • Language intensive
  • Common across English language arts (ELA), math, science, and other subjects
your thoughts1
Your Thoughts

As we strive to close achievement gaps among demographic subgroups,how do you think the Next Generation Science Standards will impact science education of all students, especially ELLs?

understanding language initiative three goals
Understanding Language Initiative: Three Goals
  • Engage in a healthy public dialogue around what the CCSS and NGSS imply for English language learners (ELLs)
  • Develop exemplars of what CCSS and NGSS-aligned instruction looks like
  • Develop a vibrant, inquisitive, engaging online community




M1.Make sense of

S1. Ask questions &

S2. Develop

and use models

problems & persevere in solving them

define problems

S3. Plan & carry out

S5. Use mathematics & computational thinking


M6.Attend to precision

M4. Model with mathematics

S4. Analyze & interpret

M7.Look for & make use of structure


E2. Build strong content knowledge

E4. Comprehend as well as critique

E5. Value evidence

M2. Reason abstractly & quantitatively

M3. Construct viable argument & critique reasoning of others

S7. Engage in argument from evidence

S6. Construct explanations & design solutions

S8. Obtain, evaluate & communicate information

E6. Use technology & digital media

M5. Use appropriate tools strategically

M8.Look for & express

regularity in repeated reasoning

E1.Demonstrate independence

E3. Respond to the varying demands of audience, talk, purpose, & discipline

E7. Come to understand other perspectives & cultures


Source: Working Draft, 12-6-11 by Tina Cheuk,

your thoughts2
Your Thoughts

How can teachers promote science learning according to the NGSS while supporting language development for ELLs?

p romoting both s cience and language l earning for ells
Promoting Both Science and Language Learning for ELLs
  • ELLs can participate in classroom discourse focused on rich and exciting academic content
  • ELLs learn language best when they engage with academic content
  • Focusing on both text and discourse gives ELLs opportunities for extended engagement with complex ideas
what science teachers need to know and do with ells

What Science Teachers Need to Know and Do with ELLs

Literacy strategies for all students

ESOL strategies for ELLs

Discourse strategies for ELLs

Home language support

Home culture connections

literacy strategies for all students
Literacy Strategies for All Students

Incorporate reading and writing strategies

  • Activate prior knowledge
  • Promote comprehension of expository science texts
  • Promote scientific genres of writing
  • Connect science process skills (e.g., describe, explain predict, conclude, report) to language functions (e.g., explain, compare, contrast)
  • Use graphic organizers (e.g., concept map, word wall, Venn diagram, KWL)
esol strategies for ells
ESOL Strategies for ELLs

Use language support strategies

  • Promote hands-on inquiry
  • Use realia (real objects or events)
  • Encourage multiple modes of representations (gestural, oral, pictorial, graphic, textual)
  • Use graphic devices (graphs, charts, tables, drawings, pictures)
  • Use a small number of key terms in multiple contexts
discourse strategies for ells
Discourse Strategies for ELLs

Reduce language load while maintaining the rigor of science content and process

  • Recognize ELLs’ varying levels of developing language proficiency and adjust norms of interaction with a student accordingly
  • Build students’ understanding and discourse skills (e.g., from “it is foggy” to “water vapor condenses into little water drops”)
  • Encourage students to share ideas, even as the process reveals flaws in a model or explanation, or flawed use of language (“flawed English”)
home language support
Home Language Support

Use home language support

  • Present science terms in multiple languages in the beginning of each lesson
  • Use cognates (and highlight false cognates) in home language
  • Allow code-switching
  • Allow ELLs to discuss the lesson in class using their home language
  • Encourage bilingual students to assist less English proficient students in their home language
  • Allow ELLs to write about activities in home language
home culture connections
Home Culture Connections

Incorporate the ways students’ cultural experiences influence science instruction

  • Build on students’ lived experiences at home and in the community (i.e., funds of knowledge)
  • Explore culturally-based ways students communicate and interact in their home and community (i.e., cultural congruence)
  • Use students’ cultural artifacts, culturally relevant examples, and community resources
  • Use texts with content that is familiar to ELLs
take home message
Take Home Message
  • Changing demographics
  • Persistent achievement gaps
  • High academic rigor through the NGSS
  • Both language demands and learning opportunities through the NGSS
  • Anew set of teachers’ knowledge and practices to enable all students, particularly ELLs, learn science according to the NGSS