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Science, engineering, and technology permeate nearly every facet of modern life, and they also hold the key to meeting many of humanity’s most pressing current and future challenges. Yet too few U.S. workers have strong backgrounds in these fields, and many people lack even fundamental knowledge of them. This national trend has created a widespread call for a new approach to K-12 science education in the United States.
The Committee on a Conceptual Framework for New K-12 Science Education Standards was charged with developing a framework that articulates a broad set of expectations for students in science. The overarching goal of the framework for K-12 science education is to ensure that by the end of 12th grade, all students have some appreciation of the beauty and wonder of science; possess sufficient knowledge of science and engineering to engage in public discussions on related issues; are careful consumers of scientific and technological information related to their everyday lives; are able to continue to learn about science outside school; and have the skills to enter careers of their choice, including (but not limited to) careers in science, engineering, and technology. (Excerpt from A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012)
In Montgomery County Public Schools, the goal of the science program is for all students to achieve full scientific literacy through Next Generation Science Standards aligned and phenomenon-based instruction that will prepare them for success in college and career. The MCPS science curriculum was developed as a coherent learning progression from kindergarten through grade 12 where all students experience a rigorous, interdisciplinary approach to science content, exploring science through hands-on explorations, productive discourse, and purposeful reading and writing. Students apply content knowledge through the scientific and engineering practices to solve real world problems and develop the tools that will make them successful lifelong learners.
In February 2020, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) voted to modify the high school science assessment for graduation, known as the Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (HS MISA) from addressing topics in three science domains (life science, physical science, earth/space science) to addressing topics in a single science domain (life science).
Beginning in 2023 students will be expected to pass this version of the HS MISA to graduate.
For students taking the MISA in the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school year, taking the MISA will meet graduation assessment requirements for science.