The hub for environmental education professional development

Updating the K-12 Guidelines for Learning

The K-12 Guidelines for Learning provide a framework for environmental literacy benchmarked at the 4th, 8th, and 12th grades. They have been updated about every five years since their original publication in 1999. Over the next two years, we'll be updating these guidelines once again. We know we want to address specific changes in national standards, including NGSS, Common Core State Standards, C3, and the Global Competency Standards. We want to make sure these guidelines support the Climate Literacy, Energy Literacy, and Ocean Literacy Principles, as well as sustainability.

We're interested in your ideas. As we launch the revision process, what's most important to you? What does an environmentally literate twelfth grader need to know and be able to do? What concepts and skills need to be added to the K-12 guidelines?

We're hoping you'll be willing to help!

Adding ties to the Practices of NGSS... the last NGSS training I was at emphasized helping/providing teachers with a better understanding and different practices talked of in the NGSS to implement in their classrooms.... and for HS's, moving away from route labs with cut & dry answers to more open-ended, inquiry-based labs that helped show an integration of different sciences and engineering aspects into the "lab".

Trying to update existing learning activities does take considerable thought and multiple efforts. One of the resources Achieve Inc. (company who has facilitated the work behind development and revisions of the NGSS) has put together to help with revisions is the EQuIP Rubric. The rubric is designed to help educators in all places think about what learning in science should look like including the content (Disciplinary Core Ideas), practices of science (Betsy mentioned the Science and Engineering Practices), and common ideas (Crosscutting Concepts) in all of science. The EQuIP Rubric asks curriculum and lesson designers to think about how all of these are integrated into learning activities and how you go about collecting different types of evidence from learners along the way.

Something else to look at in the NGSS are the suggested standards from the Common Core which are recommended for students to engage with in other classes. Sometimes environmental education can often get dumped into the silo of science only. Using these links to Common Core standards might help activity designers create programs and activities which help teachers of all disciplines recognize the interdisciplinary nature of environmental education.

NGSS EQuIP Rubric -
Version 3.0 is in development
Videos about using the EQuIP Rubric on the Teaching Channel -

I'm wondering how we might incorporate space for states to add on, comment, or modify guidelines based on state-specific context. In California, we need to be mindful of the state adopted Environmental Principles and Concepts... even formatting a text box space for people in the field to reflect on local requirements with the national guidelines would be useful.

Yes, the EQUIP Rubric is a great resource. In part to prepare for this revision and to help others who want to make connections between environmental literacy and the various national standards, we've created a number of "crosswalks" Although these crosswalks are far from perfect, they do provide quite a bit of insight into commonalities and gaps. We created crosswalks for NGSS, C3, CCSS English Language Arts, CCSS Mathematics, and Global Competencies. Our job will be to find the best ways to support these various standards while articulating the best framework for environmental literacy.

Nate - that's a very interesting point. We've always encouraged states (and others) to adapt the Guidelines for Excellence to their own particular context. That's in part why we call them guidelines. Finding a way to facilitate the adaptation process - through a box, some sort of web space, or some other mechanism - is a great idea.