a central focal point because they’re
essential to achieve this shift.
4 Run the marathon instead
of the sprint.
The tendency in our quick-fix society
is to seek super-fast solutions—even
to problems as complex as learning.
But just telling students more facts,
having them memorize more
information, or assigning
more of the same type of
problems won’t help them
excel with the new science
Instead, the goal should
be sustained growth over
an extended period of time.
Teachers should give students data
sets to interpret, provide multiple
experiences with science content
rather than just one, and offer time
for students to practice after they
have understood the concept—not
before. Although our inclination is
to make lots of changes all at once,
both teachers and students need time
to adjust, so it’s preferable to scaffold
changes, adding one new piece at
a time and developing competence
before tackling more.
5 Put the challenges in perspective.
Challenges often accompany change.
However, we can address them by
being proactive and intentional.
The first challenge is this: Inquiry-based instruction, which aligns so
beautifully with the Next Generation
Science Standards performance
expectations, isn’t the easiest way to
instruct. But considering the academic
success and personal growth that students experience when they engage
in inquiry learning, our goal should
be effectiveness as opposed to just ease
A second challenge is that classroom
It’s a Victory for the Team
management looks different when
students are active and engaged
(Marshall, 2013). Compliant learners
who sit passively in rows will behave
differently from active, engaged
learners who are exploring and cre-
ating. This can be exciting, but it
requires forethought in your role as a
facilitator of learning.
An excellent way to begin shifting
from teacher-as-teller to
improving your questioning.
Try to move away from
questioning toward asking
more how and why questions.
Consider the way you respond
to student comments. Instead
of simply affirming the accuracy or
inaccuracy of a response, move toward
a more conversational style that seeks
and values input from everyone in the
The Next Generation Science Standards provide a framework to help
teachers and students thrive. And
because of their natural alignment
with inquiry-based instruction,
they offer an equitable approach for
Effective professional development
will be essential to help teachers transition from previous approaches to
newer and more relevant forms of
instruction and curriculum. However,
the success that teachers can experience with all groups of students at all
ability levels makes this effort toward
transformation worthwhile. EL
Author’s Note: The standards quoted
in this article are from NGSS Lead States.
(2013). Next Generation Science Standards:
For states, by states. Washington, DC:
National Academies Press.
Editor’s Note: Coincidentally, two
rubrics mentioned in this issue share the
same acronym, EQUIP. In Jeff Marshall’s
article, “In Step with the New Science
Standards,” the Electronic Quality of
Inquiry Protocol (EQUIP) rubric focuses
on assessing the level of inquiry learning
in the classroom. In Jo Ellen Roseman and
Mary Koppal’s article, “Aligned—Or Not?”
the Educators Evaluating the Quality of
Instructional Products (EQuIP) rubric
provides criteria by which to measure the
alignment and overall quality of mate-
rials with respect to the Next Generation
Fried, R. L. (2001). The passionate teacher:
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Gross, P., Goodenough, U., Lerner, L.,
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R. (2005). The state of the state science
standards. Washington, DC: Thomas B.
Fordham Institute. Retrieved from
Marshall, J. C. (2013). Succeeding with
inquiry in science and math classrooms.
Alexandria, VA: ASCD & NSTA.
Marshall, J. C., & Alston, D. M. (in press).
Effective, sustained inquiry-based
instruction promotes higher science
proficiency among all groups: A five-year analysis. Journal of Science Teacher
Marshall, J. C., Smart, J., & Horton, R. M.
(2010). The design and validation of
EQUIP: An instrument to assess inquiry-based instruction. International Journal
of Science and Mathematics Education,
8( 2), 299–321.
National Research Council. (1996).
National science education standards.
Washington, DC: National Academies
Roth, K., Marshall, J. C., Taylor, J. A.,
Wilson, C., & Hvidsten, C. (2014,
April). Impact of science professional
development on student learning: Four
studies awaken dialogue. Paper presented
at the National Association for Research
in Science Teaching, Pittsburgh, PA.
Jeff C. Marshall (marsha9@clemson
.edu) is associate professor in science
education at Clemson University and
director of the Inquiry in Motion Institute.
He is the author of Succeeding with
Inquiry in Science and Math Classrooms
(ASCD & NSTA, 2013).