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The NSDL is committed to providing high-quality teaching resources that can help students learn important ideas in science. Many NSDL collections and pathways have already assigned their K-12 resources to education standards, including the AAAS benchmarks (AAAS, 2008).
With the release of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in the spring of 2013, it has become important to provide easy access to NSDL resources that can help students meet the performance expectations contained in the new standards. To achieve this, the NSDL has developed a crosswalk between the two sets of learning goals-the AAAS benchmarks and the NGSS.
Learning goals are considered "aligned" or equivalent when they show a major overlap in terms of scope and substance. In addition, they must have comparable levels of sophistication (also known as cognitive demand). This last criterion was occasionally relaxed to accommodate differences in grade-level placements of the learning goals in the two documents. Therefore, in some cases AAAS benchmarks and NGSS standards may be found in different (but always adjacent) grade bands-K-2, 3-5, 6-8 [Middle School], and 9-12 [High School].
To ensure appropriate and comparable grain sizes, alignments were made at the level of the individual AAAS benchmarks, represented as nodes (light blue boxes) on the NSDL Science Literacy Maps, and the individual dimensions of the NGSS-i.e., Scientific and Engineering Practices (dark blue), Disciplinary Core Ideas (orange), and Crosscutting Concepts (green). Individual bullet items of these dimensions that are aligned to a benchmark are now displayed in the NGSS Standards tab of the strand maps Info Bubble (e.g., http://strandmaps.nsdl.org/?id=SMS-MAP-1332&bm=SMS-BMK-1807). Each aligned item is followed by the performance expectations that are impacted or enabled by the aligned item.
The NSDL will make available at least two mechanisms that can be used to find resources for teaching and learning NGSS standards: (1) the info bubble that is called up by clicking on a benchmark node on an NSDL strand map (see example in the preceding paragraph) and (2) the NSDL Browse by Standard interface (http://nsdl.org/search/standards/D2454348).