NGSS Accelerated Model Course Pathways


In November 2015 Achieve released the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Accelerated Model Course Pathways - a resource that offers guidance to schools and districts seeking to organize NGSS performance expectations into a compressed time frame. The NGSS Accelerated Model Course Pathways are designed for high-achieving students who want or need to pursue advanced level science courses earlier in middle or high school, and at a more rapid pace.

Key components of this resource are three NGSS Accelerated Model Course Maps, which outline examples for how schools and districts might reorganize NGSS performance expectations into fewer courses - without omitting any. Importantly, the examples are not intended to signal a one-size-fits-all approach to developing accelerated pathways. Rather, the entire document serves as a starting point for schools and districts.

"Districts and schools should maximize opportunities for high-performing students to learn the science in the Next Generation Science Standards as well as excel far beyond them," said Peter McLaren, Director of State and District Support for Science at Achieve. "The accelerated model course pathways were created to allow this unique population of students access to advanced level and AP science courses sooner in their high school experience."

Achieve coordinated the development of this resource with Advanced Placement (AP) educators and several writers of the NGSS. The final documents were reviewed by an additional team of classroom educators, science supervisors, and disciplinary specialists.

The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) shared the following statement of support for the resource:

NAGC is pleased to support the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Accelerated Model Course Pathways.

The Accelerated Pathways developers use some of the best practices in gifted education - differentiation, mentoring, curriculum compacting, pacing, and telescoping - to explain and illustrate ways to organize an accelerated program of study. The Accelerated Pathways document also suggests ways to remediate knowledge gaps for students from the regular instructional program who enter the accelerated pathway later than their accelerated peers.

Other strengths include identification of the math skills needed in the accelerated pathway as well as a comparison chart of the shared concepts between the NGSS and AP Science courses, often the only courses available to advanced students. It is not common for educators to recommend acceleration as an appropriate choice for advanced learners. However, the developers embrace acceleration for our most highly able science students and provide specific direction to schools and districts on how to develop and deliver course content that is appropriate for those students who are ready and eager for curriculum that far exceeds the traditional course offerings.

Watch this video for a brief overview of the NGSS Accelerated Model Course Pathways. 

Additionally, the full resource and appendix charts are available here.

Media Contact: Andre' Wesson (202) 745-2307,