Public Policy Institute of California
Education and Human Resources (EHR)
Today 44 states serving 71 percent of U.S. students have education standards influenced by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Local implementation is the key to the success of NGSS, yet little is known about the extent to which NGSS have been implemented in K-12 schools during COVID-19. Policymakers, educational leaders, and researchers urgently need data to know whether and how NGSS implementation is taking hold in their schools in light of changes due to COVID-19 so that they may design better supports for implementation in anticipation for school reopening for in-person learning in September 2021. This project will investigate how NGSS has been implemented in California schools during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Through a state-wide survey, analysis of administrative data, interviews and case studies, this project will assess the impact of COVID-19 on NGSS implementation on a large scale, and more importantly, the extent to which high minority, high-poverty districts are disproportionately affected. It will also identify policy options available to state and school districts. By collecting critical and timely data, this project will contribute new knowledge to understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on NGSS implementation. This knowledge is a necessary step towards policy and practice solutions that support schools and teachers in continuing implementation of NGSS and expanding educational opportunities to underrepresented minorities, English learners, and students with disabilities in post-COVID-19. The goals of the project are to (1) assess the impacts of COVID-19 on NGSS implementation in California; (2) examine whether and how high-minority, high-poverty districts are impacted more acutely than other districts; and (3) identify policies and programs state and local districts could prioritize to mitigate the impacts. A mixed methods approach will be used to answer research questions related to the above goals. Specifically, a survey of all school districts in California will be conducted. Text mining of school district administrative data will also be performed. Qualitative methods will include interviews and case studies. Extensive outreach efforts, including one-on-one briefings with the members of the legislative and executive branches, will also take place throughout the year. A researcher-practitioner partnership will be formed through engaging the California State Department of Education in allocating resources for NGSS implementation and local school districts in developing guidelines to support teachers in NGSS-aligned instruction. Project findings will be widely disseminated through online resources and digital libraries to school districts, science teachers, and curriculum developers. Project findings will inform state policymaking and increase the partnerships between research institutions and state government. This RAPID award is made by the Discovery Research preK-12 (DRK-12) program in the Division of Research on Learning. The DRK-12 program seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models and tools. Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.