Initial Publication Date: February 12, 2018

The history of the Development and Implementation of the NGSS by the CLEAN Community

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The CLEAN Community has been deeply involved in both the development and the ongoing implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) ( within individual states.

1. Development

The document Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science ( that describes the important principles and concepts of climate science was developed in part by many members of the CLEAN community with the support of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), National Science Foundation (NSF) and other US federal agencies.

This document, as well as other related literacy documents for ocean, atmospheric, and earth science, "strongly influenced" the development of the Earth and Space Science (ESS) section of the National Research Council's A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas ( that provides the basis for the NGSS.

As the authors of the Framework state,

The committee's efforts have been strongly influenced by several recent efforts in the ESS community that have codified the essential sets of information in several fields. These projects include Earth Science Literacy Principles: The Big Ideas and Supporting Concepts of Earth Science, Ocean Literacy: The Essential Principles of Ocean Science K-12, Atmospheric Science Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Atmospheric Science, and Climate Literacy: Essential Principles of Climate Science. The selection of much of the framework's content was informed by these documents, thereby ensuring that the ESS core ideas we present are not only current and accurate but also relevant; they express content that the scientific research communities themselves recognize as being most important.

2. Review

The Next Generation Science Standards document went through two public draft review periods in May 2012 and January 2013 before being finalized in June 2013. The CLEAN Community submitted extensive comments on both public drafts.

The documents and online discussions associated with these reviews are preserved in links on the following web pages:

Public Draft 1 - May 15, 22, and 29, 2012 (

Public Draft 2 - January 8, 15, and 22, 2013 (

3. Correlations

After the publication of the final NGSS standards, the CLEAN Community (led by Scott Carley of the College of Exploration and Frank Niepold of NOAA) has developed several documents showing how Climate Literacy Principles and Concepts (Version 2) relate to the final NGSS Performance Expectations (PEs).

The first document consists of a matrix summarizing the main NGSS Performance Expectations that support Climate Literacy organized by grade/grade band and scientific discipline. It includes the results of an analysis done by Mary Carla Curran of Savannah State University for the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). It is available in pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 68kB Jan20 14) and Excel (Excel 19kB Jan20 14) formats.

The second document shows how each of these climate-related NGSS Performance Expectations correlates with the three dimensions in the NRC Framework (e.g., science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts) and Connections to Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science and Nature of Science in the NGSS standards. It is available in pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 85kB Jan20 14) and Excel (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 12kB Jan20 14) formats. Note: some of the climate-related NGSS Performance Expectations are not directly correlated with specific Climate Literacy Principles and Concepts.

The labels for the Climate Literacy Principles and Concepts are in the third document. And the labels for the three dimensions are on this diagram based on the NRC's Framework document.

The diagram shows how the NRC's Framework's Three Dimensions relate to the NGSS Performance Expectations

The third document relates each Climate Literacy Principle and Concept to the three dimensions in the NRC Framework (e.g., science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts) and to the NGSS Performance Expectations. It is available in pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 83kB Jan20 14) and Excel (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 13kB Jan20 14) formats.

All three documents are undergoing continued review and refinement.

4. Implementation

The main role of Next Generation Science Standards is to provide guidance for the development of assessments and not to define instructional / learning sequences and the content of education resources.

The next step for the CLEAN Community is to develop learning progressions/sequences that support climate literacy and to identify existing reviewed education resources in the CLEAN Collection and possible gaps in the CLEAN Collection that curriculum developers will be encouraged to fill. This work will rely on the detailed content already in the climate literacy document (as well as developments such as the climate and energy concept maps (

Webpage prepared by Scott Carley, College of Exploration / Last revision: January 20, 2014