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quality of certain aspects of teaching, such as teacher education programs. The greatest authority and interaction around matters of teacher certification occur at the state level and involves state departments of education, state credentialing agencies, institutions of higher education, and state-level professional organizations. However, state policies are influenced by the federal government and national organizations, as well as by local districts. And ultimately, state policies are put into practice at the local level in the form of local school board employment policies and practices.
When thinking about the science education system, it is important to remember that organizations and agencies are composed of individuals who implement policies and practices.
System Standard A
Policies that influence the practice of science education must be congruent with the program, teaching, professional development, assessment, and content standards while allowing for adaptation to local circumstances.
This standard places consistency in the foreground of science education policy and practice. If the practice of science education is to undergo radical improvement, policies must support the vision contained in the Standards.
[See Program Standard A]
State and national policies are consistent with the program standards when, as a whole, the regulations reflect the program standards. For example, state regulations for class size, for time in the school day devoted to science, and for science laboratory facilities, equipment, and safety should meet the program standards. Also, requirements of national organizations that accredit schools should be based on the program standards.
State and national policies are consistent with the teaching and professional development standards when teacher employment practices are consistent with them. State policies and practices that influence the prepara
If the practice of science education is to undergo radical improvement, policies must support the vision contained in the Standards.
tion, certification, and continuing professional development of teachers should be congruent with the teaching and professional development standards. The pedagogical methods employed at institutions of higher education and the requirements of national organizations for the certification of teachers and accreditation of teacher education programs also must reflect the Standards.
State and federal assessment practices should reflect the content and assessment standards, whether to describe student achievement, to determine if a school or district is providing the opportunities for all students to learn science, to monitor the system, or to certify teachers.
State and national policies are consistent with the content standards when state curriculum frameworks reflect the content
Marking the culmination of a three-year, multiphase process, on April 10th, 2013, a 26-state consortium released the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a detailed description of the key scientific ideas and practices that all students should learn by the time they graduate from high school.