Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Mason Kuhn


Next Generation Science Standards (Education); Science--Study and teaching--United States;


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a set of standards and criteria that support the most effective way to teach science. Twenty states and the District of Columbia (representing over 36% of U.S. Students) have officially adopted the NGSS as their science standards. In addition, twenty-four states (representing 35% of U.S. students) have developed their own standards based on recommendations in the National Research Council (NRC) Framework for K-12 Science Education, which is the same frameworkthat the NGSS was developed from (NSTA) (NRC, 2012). In those 44 states (71% of the U.S. student population) teachers should ask students to learn science by making claims, evaluating evidence, and utilizing reason. The NGSS supports a way to teach science that puts the learning in the hands of the students. These activities include designing investigations, collecting data, formulating claims, and arguing based on found evidence. However, many of the most popular elementary school science curricula that are used in those 44 states are not aligned to the expectations and rigor of the NGSS. This study was done to evaluate current popular elementary science curricula to see if they align with the expectations of the NGSS. As the NGSS has been peer-reviewed and determined to be the most effective way to teach science, all science curricula should align to the standards that it outlines. In this study, the Evaluating Quality in Instructional Products (EQUIP) Rubric, which is designed to evaluate curricula based on how well they meet the NGSS, was used to analyze each curriculum. In this study, five readily available science curricula that claim to be aligned to the NGSS were evaluated using this research-based evaluation tool.It was found that four of the five most widely-used science curricula do not fall close to meeting the expectations of the NGSS, thus supporting the claim that elementary science curricula needs improvements.

Year of Submission



School of Applied Human Sciences

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


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