Curriculum and Instruction

New York State Science Initiative

New York State Science Initiative

What is the New York State Science Initiative?

Create a statewide learning community to support student achievement of the learning standards in science, leading to a scientifically literate population.

Ensure the learning of science for all Pre-K-12 students by providing equitable access to exemplary teachers, inquiry-centered curriculum and instruction, standards-based assessments, and a wealth of resources and community support.

The New York State Science Initiative is a plan designed to improve student achievement in science for all students, Pre-K-12. The initiative will provide leadership and assistance in science education that will:  

  • Elevate the importance of science education
  • Enhance professional development for teachers in both the life sciences and the physical sciences
  • Encourage students, teachers, administrators, parents, higher education professionals, and community members to build capacity

Why is the New York State Science Initiative necessary?

In recent years, data gathered from international, national, and State assessments have indicated a need for strengthening student performance in science, especially in physical science. Results from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) external link icon, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) external link icon, and the State-developed assessments at the elementary, intermediate, and commencement levels all show that New York State students need to raise their level of achievement in science.

What benefits will result from the New York State Science Initiative?

  • Students will engage in inquiry-centered curriculum programming which fosters the development and understanding of science content, concepts, skills and attitudes.
  • Teachers will participate in sustained professional development that enhances content knowledge and classroom instruction.
  • Administrators will have clear understanding of the pathways to science education reform efforts to improve student achievement with data-driven results.
  • Parents/guardians and other family members will become partners in their students' science education.
  • Higher education institutions will prepare teachers to embrace curriculum, instruction and assessment resources available to meet the learning standards in science at the elementary, intermediate and commencement levels.
  • Community members will have a clear understanding of the importance of science and the need for a scientifically literate population.

What are the Goals of the New York State Science Initiative?

Curriculum, Professional Development, Assessment, Materials Support, and Administrative and Community Support are five major components necessary to foster systemic change in science education.  Goals for these five key components are addressed simultaneously as indicated below:


  • Provide opportunities for Pre-K-12 students to meet the NYS mathematics, science, and technology learning standards using exemplary science curriculum programs emphasizing an inquiry-centered approach to learning science.

Professional Development:

  • Establish professional development opportunities to support scientific literacy statewide and build capacity among science educators and other stakeholders across the state to provide technical assistance regionally and locally.


  • Use science assessment data including international, national, state and local data sources to inform decisions regarding curriculum, instruction and assessment for the purpose of improving student learning and achievement.

Materials Support:

  • Support the development and implementation of inquiry-centered curricula programs using models of effective systems management of science materials and resources.

Administrative and Community Support:

  • Build capacity among all stakeholders beyond the educational arena including business and industry.

How can people get more information and become involved in this initiative?

The New York State Education Department has issued a Call for Expertise in science to support the New York State Science Initiative. Please visit the Education Department’s Science web site online at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/mst/sci/.

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Reform Efforts

Historical Perspective: Science Education Reform Efforts Leading to Standards-based Science Education PowerPoint file icon (161 KB) | Text Only Version

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Science Update Spring 2006

The New York State Education Department is partnering with the National Science Resources Center (NSRC) to execute a multi-year science education initiative which will build leadership teams within New York State school districts. This initiative provides research-based products and services to assist NYS school districts in initiating, implementing, and sustaining effective prekindergarten through grade 12 science programs for all students. More information about the NSRC, its Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER), and its Strategic Planning Institute (July 2006) may be found at http://www.nsrconline.org/school_district_resources/index.html external link icon.  New York State school districts are encouraged to participate in the LASER Strategic Planning Institute as part of the renewed NYS Science Initiative.

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Last Updated: February 24, 2015