Print Page   |   Sign In   |   Join Us
Community Search
Ocean Literacy Framework
Share |

The Ocean Literacy Framework comprises the Ocean Literacy Guide, the Ocean Literacy Scope and Sequence for Grades K–12, and the Alignment of Ocean Literacy to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This 3-part framework presents a vision of an ocean-literate society and outlines the knowledge required to be considered ocean literate. They are a practical resource that educators and policymakers use to influence teaching and learning about the ocean throughout our schools, museums, aquariums, science centers, parks, and other informal learning environments. Several hundred leading scientists and educators contributed to the development of these consensus documents. They were used to ensure that ocean concepts are well-represented in A Framework for K-12 Science Education (National Academy of Sciences, 2012) and the “Next Generation Science Standards” (Achieve, Inc., 2013).

Ocean Literacy GuideOcean Literacy: The Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts of Ocean Sciences for Learners of All Ages (Ocean Literacy Guide) describes the 7 most important ideas, or Essential Principles, about the ocean that all people of our water planet should have the opportunity to learn and understand. The Essential Principles are supported and explained by 45 Fundamental Concepts. The Essential Principles, and supporting Fundamental Concepts were developed through a community-wide consensus-building process. This effort built on previous work to define ocean literacy, assess what the public knows about the ocean, and redress the lack of ocean-related content in state and national science education standards, instructional materials, and assessments.

NMEA Special Report 3The Ocean Literacy Scope and Sequence for Grades K–12 provides educators with guidance as to what students need to comprehend in Grade bands K–2, 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12 in order to achieve full understanding of the Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts described in the Ocean Literacy Guide. These progressions show how students’ thinking about the ocean may develop in ever more complex ways across many years of thoughtful, coherent science instruction. The Scope and Sequence, represented in a series of conceptual flow diagrams that are developmentally appropriate and include cross-references, also shows how concepts about the ocean are interconnected. This resource was developed through an extensive, iterative process from 2006-2010, led by the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) California with additional support from COSEE West at University of Southern California. Over 150 members of the ocean sciences education community contributed to the final document. The Scope and Sequence was published by the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) in March 2010 as NMEA Special Report #3 on the Ocean Literacy Campaign.

OL-NGSS Alignment 3-5Alignment of Ocean Literacy to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) details the correlations between the Next Generation Science Standards, (specifically the Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) and Performance Expectations (PE)), and the concepts included in the Ocean Literacy Guide and Ocean Literacy Scope & Sequence. This alignment is a necessary tool to focus attention on places in the NGSS where Ocean Literacy is essential to understanding the DCI, but the connection may not be obvious. The alignment documents are organized by grade band and provide a 4-point rating scale with a description for each rating. Providing coherence across the Ocean Literacy Framework and NGSS helps to leverage our community’s work and make it more valuable and useful.

Please see the “Honor Roll” at for names of individuals who contributed to the development and review processes.

Sign In