Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Since the release of the NGSS in 2013, there has been a gap in available curricula that is aligned with the new standards. To fill this gap, I created and implemented a unit of study aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) on the topic of astronomy for a ninth grade earth and space science course. Much of the available curriculum is above the level of ninth grade students. This curriculum approaches the astronomy standards at the level of ninth grade students.

The research questions were “how well does the curriculum prepare students for the disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) of the standards” and “to what extent does the unit align to the NGSS?” To answer these questions, two concept inventories were used as pre and post tests, and the unit was evaluated against the EQuiP Rubric for Science. Based on the data from the concept inventories, student understanding of the DCIs increase, which indicates the success of the unit in regards to the DCIs. When compared to the EQuiP rubric, this unit shows adequate alignment to the NGSS, and areas of improvement were identified.

This project increased my understanding and ability of creating units that are aligned to the NGSS. By implementing the NGSS, students are actively participating in integrating the practices of science and increasing their abilities to think critically and apply the process of science.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Science Education Program

First Advisor

Jesse Wilcox

Date Original

Summer 2023

Object Description

1 PDF file (66 pages)