What do people think about the NGSS and what can public sentiment tell us about how the NGSS are being implemented?

Joshua Rosenberg


With my colleagues Conrad Borchers, Elizabeth Dyer, Daniel Anderson, and Christian Fischer, I published a paper on understanding public sentiment about the NGSS (and contrasting this with public sentiment about another large-scale reform in education, the Common Core State Standards.

The paper is Understanding Public Sentiment About Educational Reforms: The Next Generation Science Standards on Twitter and is published open-access (accessible by anyone - thanks to support from the UTK Libraries Open Publishing Support Fund!) in AERA Open.

A bit more on the paper: We wanted to try to understand whether some of the features of the NGSS (its timing / timeliness in context of the CCSS and building on a consensus report from the National Academy of Science) might be associated with positive public opinion, which can support implementation. While there is some public opinion polling on the CCSS, there hasn’t been any on the NGSS.

So, we turned to a set of methods borrowed from other data science researchers to try to estimate how positive or negative public sentiment about the NGSS was.

We found that posts on Twitter about the NGSS were very positive, with around nine positive posts for every one negative posts. Posts became more positive over time and were particularly positive for teachers.

These patterns were different from the CCSS, which experienced organized pushback and negative sentiment that mat have impacted how the standards were actually implemented. Public support for the CCSS started relatively strong but declined over time, especially for teachers. In sum, the NGSS isn’t yet a successful reform, but it has some elements in place that indicate that there may be the potential for it to become one.

My hope is that this paper directs some attention to the NGSS. While the work of the NGSS is in no way done, there are good things happening in science education around these quite (surprisingly) good standards and relatively good implementation of them. Onward.

All of the code to reproduce the analysis is available here: https://github.com/jrosen48/ngsschat-sentiment