NSES Content Standard A 
Science as Inquiry: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
Grades 9-12, page 175

Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and models. This aspect of the standard emphasizes the critical abilities of analyzing an argument by reviewing current scientific understanding, weighing the evidence, and examining the logic so as to decide which explanations and models are best. In other words, although there may be several plausible explanations, they do not all have equal weight. Students should be able to use scientific criteria to find the preferred explanations.

Benchmark 1A The Nature of Science: The Scientific World View
Grades 9-12, page 8
No matter how well one theory fits observations, a new theory might fit them just as well or better, or might fit a wider range of observations. In science, the testing, revising, and occasional discarding of theories, new and old, never ends. This ongoing process leads to an increasingly better understanding of how things work in the world but not to absolute truth. Evidence for the value of this approach is given by the improving ability of scientists to offer reliable explanations and make accurate predictions.

Benchmark 1B The Nature of Science: Scientific Inquiry
Grades 9-12, page 13
Hypotheses are widely used in science for choosing what data to pay attention to and what additional data to seek, and for guiding the interpretation of the data (both new and previously available).

Benchmark 1B The Nature of Science: Scientific Inquiry
Grades 9-12, page 13
In the short run, new ideas that do not mesh well with mainstream ideas in science often encounter vigorous criticism. In the long run, theories are judged by how they fit with other theories, the range of observations they explain, how well they explain observations, and how effective they are in predicting new findings.

Benchmark 9E The Mathematical World: Reasoning
Grades 9-12, page 234
Once a person believes in a general rule, he or she may be more likely to notice cases that agree with it and to ignore cases that don't. To avoid biased observations, scientific studies sometimes use observers who don't know what the results are "supposed" to be.

Benchmark 11B Common Themes: Models
Grades 6-8, page 269
Different models can be used to represent the same thing. What kind of a model to use and how complex it should be depends on its purpose. The usefulness of a model may be limited if it is too simple or if it is needlessly complicated. Choosing a useful model is one of the instances in which intuition and creativity come into play in science, mathematics, and engineering.

Benchmark 11B Common Themes: Models
Grades 9-12, page 270
The usefulness of a model can be tested by comparing its predictions to actual observations in the real world. But a close match does not necessarily mean that the model is the only "true" model or the only one that would work.

Benchmark 12E Habits of Mind: Critical-Response Skills
Grades 9-12, page 300
Suggest alternative ways of explaining data and criticize arguments in which data, explanations, or conclusions are represented as the only ones worth consideration, with no mention of other possibilities. Similarly, suggest alternative trade-offs in decisions and designs and criticize those in which major trade-offs are not acknowledged.