Wyoming State Board of Education Approves New Science Standards
Last Friday, the Wyoming State Board of Education (SBE) unanimously approved new science standards, marking the first update to Wyoming’s science standards in 13 years.
The 2016 Wyoming Science Content and Performance Standards address traditional science concepts and introduce new topics, “including engineering and technological applications, as well as cross-cutting concepts or themes in science, such as energy sources and transformations” according to a statement from Wyoming SBE. They also emphasize connections to other subjects like math and English.
The proposed standards are modeled after the Next Generation Science Standards, a multi-state effort to develop K–12 science standards, written by the National Research Council, in collaboration with the National Science Teachers Association. In addition, the current draft has “significant input from 41 educators, parents, business leaders and community members,” including more 377 public comments collected at 10 public meetings held over the last year and a half. Furthermore, Wyoming SBE extended the mandatory public comment period from 45 days to 64 days, during which the Wyoming Department of Education (DOE) reviewed and edited the standards again “to ensure clarity and format” and determine which “documents and resources they would make available to roll out the standards to districts.”
The board-approved standards have been sent to Governor Matt Mead for signature. If signed, Wyoming school districts will be tasked with creating local curricula to implement the standards by the 2020-21 school year, and the standards will form the basis of future statewide assessments.
A draft of the 2016 Wyoming Science Content and Performance Standards is available on the Wyoming DOE site. Further information is available on the Wyoming SBE site.