Nevada Academic Content Standards for Science (NVACSS)

The purpose of science education is to provide students with positive learning experiences enhanced over time by a deeper understanding of science content and the provision of tools students need in order to research, predict, hypothesize, investigate, analyze, conclude, and start the process all over. This is why we DO science. As science educators, we are ALL teachers, we are ALL learners, and we are ALL scientists.
And we educate with the understanding that the educational opportunities created by this process are available to our students. Science is for ALL students. The learning of science for ALL students ideal worthy of focused attention, significant resources, and continuing effort. To help achieve that end, standards should reflect high academic goals for all students’ science and engineering learning—as outlined in the K-12 Science Education Framework –and provide ALL students adequate opportunities to learn.
The goal: Our students research problems, predict outcomes, analyze results, and make conclusions understanding this is only the beginning of the life-long learning process. With this goal in mind, Nevada's K-12 science education stakeholders, the Nevada Board of Education and the Nevada Department of Education collaborated and adopted our current Nevada State Academic Content Standards for Science based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This adopted regulation is in response to the call for science educators to progress science standards in order to make Nevada students college and career ready via the following premises:

Children are born investigators.
Educators at all levels elicit and make use of student ideas and student capacities for engaging in science and engineering practices in designing instruction.

Focusing on practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas.
Instruction is focused on a few core ideas, engages students in science and engineering practices, and helps students recognize crosscutting concepts relevant to different core ideas.

Understanding develops over time.
Educators structure opportunities for students to develop integrated understandings of disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts over a period of years, rather than weeks or months.

Science and engineering require both knowledge and practice.
Educators organize instruction to provide students with opportunities to develop an understanding of core ideas in ways that reflect the idea that science is both a body of knowledge and a set of practices used to establish, extend, and refine that knowledge.

Connecting to students’ interests and experiences.
Classroom experiences are designed to connect with students’ diverse interests, experiences, and identities. 

Promoting equity.
Educators organize classroom activities that provide ALL students with opportunities to develop integrated understandings of disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts outlined in the Framework.

In response, Nevada science educators collaborated and decided that science standards based on A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas findings would best serve Nevada's students.  This adopted regulation embraces rigorous goals for all students, provides a greater opportunity for Nevada's educators to foster the development of a scientifically literate society via its alignment to other K-12 disciplines and the inclusion of the 21st Century Skills and reflects the real-world interconnections in science.  This adopted regulation was developed based on current and relevant science research to meet the diverse needs of all our students through its emphasis of the following:

Science Practices, Ideas and Concepts

Science & Engineering Practices

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Crosscutting Concepts


Asking questions (for science) and defining problems 
         (for engineering) 


Earth & Space Science

Cause and Effect:  Mechanism and Explanation

Developing and using models


Energy & Matter: Flows, Cycles, & Conservation 

Planning and carrying out investigations

Engineering Design


Analyzing and interpreting data


Scale, Proportion, & Quantity 

Using mathematics and computational thinking

Life Science

Stability & Change

Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)



Engaging in argument from evidence

Physical Science

Systems & System Models

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information



Please refer to Appendices on the Next Generation Science Standards webpage (listed under websites) for more information regarding the practices as well as implementation of Nevada current science standards.   

    Science Education in Nevada…MOVING FORWARD: NVACSS Implementation

    Nevada's school districts collaborated with NDE and the Regional Professional Development Program (RPDP) and crafted the Nevada Academic Content Standards for Science (NVACSS) Implementation Guide. Nevada science education stakeholders collaborated to craft this guide to have consensus regarding the implementation of our current science standards. District NVACSS Implementation teams have been working with their science community to prepare for the 2015-2016 classroom implementation of the NVACSS.

    Please work closely with your district teams as we continue to move forward in the NVACSS implementation process. Your district implementation team has been asked to provide feedback as we work toward continued district implementation of the Nevada State Academic Content Standards for Science that started during the 2014-15 school year. Classroom implementation began during the 2015-2016 school year and NVACSS-aligned assessments will be administered Spring 2017. Please contact your points of contact (click the contact list located to the right) for more information regarding NVACSS implementation.

    If you have questions, please contact André DeLeón, K-12 Science Education Programs Professional of the Nevada Department of Education, at or (775) 687-5934.