New Jersey Department of Education


Scientific and technological advances have proliferated and now permeate most aspects of life in the 21st century. It is increasingly important that all members of our society develop an understanding of scientific and engineering concepts and processes. Learning how to construct scientific explanations and how to design evidence-based solutions provides students with tools to think critically about personal and societal issues and needs. Students can then contribute meaningfully to decision-making processes, such as discussions about climate change, new approaches to health care, and innovative solutions to local and global problems. 

2020 New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Science

Intent and Spirit

The New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Science (NJSLS-S) describe the expectations for what students should know and be able to do as well as promote three-dimensional science instruction across the three science domains (i.e., physical sciences, life science, Earth and space sciences). From the earliest grades, the expectation is that students will engage in learning experiences that enable them to investigate phenomena, design solutions to problems, make sense of evidence to construct arguments, and critique and discuss those arguments (in appropriate ways relative to their grade level). 

The foundation of the NJSLS-S reflects three dimensions — science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts. The performance expectations are derived from the interplay of these three dimensions. It is essential that these three components are integrated into all learning experiences. Within each standard document, the three dimensions are intentionally presented as integrated components to foster sensemaking and designing solutions to problems. Because the NJSLS-S is built on the notions of coherence and contextuality, each of the science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts appear multiple times across topics and at every grade level. Additionally, the three dimensions should be an integral part of every curriculum unit and should not be taught in isolation. 


All students will possess an understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision-making, participation in civic life, and preparation for careers in STEM fields (for those that chose). 


Prepare students to become scientifically literate individuals who can effectively: 

  • Apply scientific thinking, skills, and understanding to real-world phenomena and problems; 
  • Engage in systems thinking and modeling to explain phenomena and to give a context for the ideas to be learned; 
  • Conduct investigations, solve problems, and engage in discussions; 
  • Discuss open-ended questions that focus on the strength of the evidence used to generate claims; 
  • Read and evaluate multiple sources, including science-related magazine and journal articles and web-based resources to gain knowledge about current and past science problems and solutions and develop well-reasoned claims; and 
  • Communicate ideas through journal articles, reports, posters, and media presentations that explain and argue.

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Page Last Updated: 03/04/2024

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