2020–2021 NextGenScience Peer Review Panel (PRP) Launch

WestEd today announced the NextGenScience project at WestEd finalized selection of its 2020–2021 NextGenScience Peer Review Panel (PRP) to continue its work evaluating lesson sequences and units designed for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and sharing selected high-quality examples online.

The NextGenScience project, which is focused on advancing science teaching, learning, and achievement across the country through the implementation of rigorous science standards, moved from Achieve to WestEd in April 2020. Since its launch in 2016, the PRP has reviewed more than 325 units, providing valuable feedback to more than 140 materials developers.

The NextGenScience PRP includes a cohort of 19 educators from 10 states with expertise in the NGSS and the EQuIP Rubric for Science, which provides criteria by which to measure how well lessons and units are designed for the NGSS. This year, the PRP will continue its review of free and publicly available middle school lessons and units for NGSS design. Reviews are free of charge to the developer with funding provided from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. All reviews are confidential unless they are shared as high quality.

Materials that earn the top rating on the EQuIP Rubric for Science in a PRP review are shared on nextgenscience.org and awarded the NGSS Design Badge, a verifiable digital badge that indicates the highest quality of NGSS design. The NGSS Design Badge provides a clear way for educators to be assured that a unit — whether free and publicly available or from a commercial publisher — is designed for the NGSS. The detailed feedback is embedded with the badge, allowing educators to view the review of the unit wherever the badge is posted. Currently, only 3 percent of submissions to the PRP have earned the NGSS Design Badge. See all 12 of those units here. In addition to the 12 NGSS Design Badge units, 15 other highly rated units have also been shared.

“The Peer Review Panel highlights materials that are designed to engage all students in meaningful science learning,” says Jenny Sarna, Director of NextGenScience. “We hope educators learn from these units and look for the same features when they choose a science program for their school and districts.”

The 19 peer reviewers completed a rigorous application process and have demonstrated extensive knowledge of the NGSS and a critical eye for high-quality materials designed for the NGSS. The 19 peer reviewers represent 10 states, spanning from the East Coast, West Coast, South, and Midwest: Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New York, and Washington.

The peer reviewers will continue to strengthen their network of passionate educators on the Science PRP with whom they can build a powerful community and share ideas and resources. Throughout the year, peer reviewers will participate in professional learning designed to deepen their understanding of the NGSS and the EQuIP Rubric for Science evaluation process for instructional materials.

“The work of the PRP community makes a difference for teachers and students in the classroom as well as to developers of curricular materials,” says Science Resource Teacher Alvin Lin, a peer reviewer located in Hawaii. “I look forward to contributing to the community as we continue to grow in our understanding and carry out this meaningful work.”

To learn more, see the Science Peer Review Panel website.

NextGenScience Peer Review Panel Members:

David Allen, Dean of K–12 Science Curriculum, Rockford Public School District 205, IL
Kimberley Astle, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Science Specialist, WA
Jennifer Brooker, K–12 Science Supervisor, NY
Jeanane Charara, Elementary Science Resource, Dearborn Public Schools, MI
Kathy Gill, Retired Teacher, Davis Joint Unified School District, CA
Debbie Gordon, Elementary Science Specialist and Project Director for K-12 CA NGSS Early Implementers, Palm Springs Unified School District, CA
Justin Harvey, Physics Teacher, Dacula High School, GA
Amy Hilliard, Lead Teacher, Western Heights Middle School, Washington County Public Schools, MD
Lori Henrickson, Secondary Science Project Facilitator, Clark County School District, NV
Marshall Hunter II, General and Regents Physics, Greece Arcadia High School, NY
Alvin Lin, Resource Teacher, Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua Complex Area, HI
Jacqueline (Jacqui) Lovejoy, 5–8 Science Specialist, Bentonville Schools, AR
Edel Maeder, District Science Coordinator, Greece Central, NY
Emily Mathews, Senior Program Coordinator, Northwestern University, IL
Amy Sandgren, Science Education Consultant, NextGen Consulting, IL
Jesse Semeyn, Science Instructional Coach, District U46, Elgin, IL
Nelly Tsai, 7th Grade Science Teacher & Secondary Science Mentor, Irvine Unified School District, CA
Kimberly Weaver, STEM Coordinator, Olympic Educational Service District 114, WA
Barbara Woods, Curriculum Coach; NGSS Early Implementer Project Director, Galt Joint Union School District, CA