Performance Expectations


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are written in the form of performance expectations (PEs), statements of what students should be able to do to demonstrate their knowledge by the end of a particular grade or grade band (NGSS Lead States, 2013). PEs combine the three dimensions of NGSS (Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas). An individual lesson or unit alone does not usually provide sufficient instruction for students to be able to successfully and fully complete a PE. However, all lessons and units should contribute to students’ ability to meet one or more PEs. Additionally, a unit of study should address multiple related PEs that represent a theme for an instructional sequence (Bybee, 2013).

Instructions for 3D Map

List the performance expectation(s) (generally choose one to three PEs) to which your lesson or unit builds.

Guiding Questions

In deciding on the performance expectations to which the lesson or unit will build students’ understanding, you should ask yourself:

  • In my scope and sequence for the year, which performance expectations do I need to cover?
  • How do the chosen performance expectations relate to each other in a meaningful way? (What is the theme that ties them together?)
  • What are the larger conceptual goals/phenomenon that relate to these performance expectations?
  • How are the chosen performance expectations related in a meaningful way that connects to the conceptual goals and phenomenon for the lesson or unit?

The NGSS Evidence Statements provide additional detail on what students should know and be able to do. These are statements of observable and measureable components that, if met, will satisfy NGSS performance expectations.  A link to these for additional support is provided below.


Bybee, R. W. 2013. Translating the NGSS for Classroom Instruction. NSTA Press.

NGSS Lead States. 2013. Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.