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2020 CAS - Science Standards Summary of Changes


Colorado state law requires a review and revision of the Colorado Academic Standards every six years with the first review to be completed by July 2018. Stronger alignment of learning expectations within and across grades had been the primary focus of the review and revision process. This includes additions, deletions, revisions and reorganizations of the standards. Listed below is a summary of the substantive revisions of the Science Standards. 

Notable Changes to All Content Area Standards:

The review committees made changes to the structure of the standards that apply to all content areas:

  • Changes to the title of the Prepared Graduate Competencies section of the standards document to Prepared Graduate Statements to reduce confusion with competency-based learning systems of instruction and assessment practices.
  • Changes to the title of the right side of the standards document from 21st Century Skills and Readiness Competencies to Academic Context and Connections. The sections within the Academic Context and Connections continue to focus on essential skills and relevant connections to the Grade Level Expectations.
  • Revisions to the preschool standards for all content areas contain revisions to align the expectations with Colorado’s Early Learning and Development Guidelines and the latest revision of the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework.

Revisions Applicable to All Grades

  • Adapted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to become the Colorado Academic Standards for Science. Adaptation occurred by not adopting the fourth standard of Engineering (however, engineering is still incorporated within the Science and Engineering Practices)
  • Changed titles within the right side of the document to Colorado Essential Skills and Science and Engineering Practices, Elaboration on the Grade Level Expectation, and Cross Cutting Concepts
  • Modified the format of the prepared graduate competencies to include a sentence stem that emphasizes the connections to science and engineering practices
  • Added a new prepared graduate statement for waves
  • Added coding from the Next Generation Science Standards to the evidence outcomes and the elaborations on the grade level expectations (disciplinary core ideas)
  • Incorporated the “right side” of the standards document more holistically and purposefully into the science standards

Revision to Elementary

  • Shifted a number of concepts and skills between elementary grades in order to establish greater coherence and alignment with research-based learning progressions for science. This results in significant changes to the elementary grades, including 5th grade which is currently tested.

Revisions to Middle School

  • Banded together the middle school science standards rather than articulate the standards by grade level in order to allow greater flexibility at the local level
  • Shifted some concepts and skills to 5th grade in order to establish greater coherence and alignment with research-based learning progressions for science

Revision to High School

  • Shifted some physical science concepts and skills previously taught at the high school level to the middle school level to allow for additional topics to be taught at the high school level and add greater coherence overall

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