Three-Dimensional Science Assessments
As Wisconsin implements new three-dimensional standards and assessments, educators will need to work together to understand what "three-dimensional" means for science instruction. Sharing initial resources and processes will be a critical piece of moving forward as a state. Generally, the three dimensions of the standards are: disciplinary core ideas - what students know; crosscutting concepts - how students think; and science and engineering practices - what students do. Just like in instruction, these three dimensions should be apparent in assessment, blurring the lines between general student work and assessment. Below are links to some initial work from Wisconsin and from across the country on 3D assessment, some ideas for creating these types of tasks, and tools for working with students' misconceptions in assessment.
Classroom Assessment Examples - Wisconsin workgroup and groups from across the country
- A Wisconsin Assessment Workgroup is creating a series of sample 3D performance tasks and rubrics, based on this process for developing performance tasks, aligned to the new Wisconsin Standards for Science and the NGSS:
- 2nd Grade Habitat Task - asks students to make observations about animals in a woodland and polar habitat, list animal characteristics in each environment and describe how those characteristics help them survive, and then compare organisms on a Venn diagram. A rubric helps with scoring student responses. Word versions here: administering the task, images for analysis, worksheet for writing descriptions, Venn diagram, scoring rubric. - Created by Sarah Adumat, Oshkosh, and Elissa Hoffman, Green Bay.
- 4th Grade Energy and Collisions Assessment Task - asks students to collect data as they roll a marble down a ramp (ruler) that collides with a cup and analyze that data - created by Dave Bergerson, Wisconsin Rapids, and Tim Cox, Berlin - word version of task
- 5th Grade Chemical Change and Conservation of Matter Task - embedded within an article detailing a method to create performance tasks
- Middle School Ecosystems Task - asks students to evaluate different means for controlling the spread of the invasive Asian carp and complete an argument about a solution using the claims, evidence, reasoning (CER) format - created by Sarah Ludwig, Fond du Lac, and Dennis Paquette, Baldwin-Woodville - word version of task
- Middle School Ecology with Swamp Water Task - asks students to find organisms in swamp water and use evidence of structure and function to make a claims about the organisms as consumers, producers, or decomposers - created by Dennis Paquette, Baldwin-Woodville - word version of task.
- Middle School Geology Task - asks students to evaluate rock layers and make evidence-based claims about their formation - word version of task.
- High School Ecosystems Task - asks students to analyze fishing data and consider ecosystem impacts of fishing practices - created by Allison Fuelling and Danielle Bendt, Marshall, and Dorothy Ginnett, CESA 5 - word version of task. Student handout pdf Student handout word
- High School Genetics Task - asks students to analyze heredity data and figure out the genetics of the Beery Twins - created by Gina Vogt and Judy Birschbach, MSOE Center for Biomolecular Modeling - word version of task - Here are four sample student responses to support collaborative discussion on this task.
National Level Work on 3D Tasks
- Achieve Task Annotation Project in Science - this work includes annotated 3D performance tasks in grade bands K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. There are also useful one-page resource documents on topics such as sense-making, use of practices, phenomena, and non-negotiables in assessment design.
- The STEM Teaching Tools group, in conjunction with LearnDBIR.org, has a series of professional development modules to review and create 3D assessments. Session A is an introduction to formative assessment. Session B asks participants to review sample assessment tasks and determine their "three-dimensionality." Session C supports educators in creating culturally relevant formative assessments.
- Kentucky has released their science "Through Course Tasks" that they use as common performances tasks across the state.
- A fabulous tool for assessing science and engineering practices comes from the Research + Practice Collaboratory. These task formats provide examples for how to frame meaningful assessment tasks at varying levels for each practice. They also have a great tool showing frameworks for using the crosscutting concepts in tasks. Their Tool #18 also includes links at the bottom to other examples of 3D assessments.
- The Stanford NGSS Assessment Project (SNAP) is still underway but already has several examples of performance tasks across different content areas.
- The Performance Assessment Resource Bank provides a growing array of performance tasks, rubrics, and tools for how to use and create them. You will need a free login.
- The Next Generation Science Assessment group also has a growing number of classroom tasks for students. While these are set up as online tasks, they provide examples of what can be completed in class by students.
- Middle school argumentation assessments - science assessments related to reading, writing, and talking about science using evidence and reasoning
- The New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) uses a series of hands-on, lab-based tasks that are part of these states' standardized assessment system.
How might we go about writing or revising assessments?
- An article on creating 3D formative assessments, with an example. It's also important to consider this article on what to do with the results of the formative assessment.
- An article on how to create 3D performance tasks
- Useful template for thinking out a performance task - from Envision Learning Partners
- Traditional tests and revision ideas - this links to a series of slides that have a link to a fairly traditional, secondary science test and ideas for improving questions on that test.
- Seeing Students Learn Science - a new report from the National Academy of Science on how to create 3D formative, classroom assessments (NGSS-aligned)
What about students' "misconceptions" in science?
- Before diving into a new unit, it can be very useful to determine which naive conceptions students have about the subject matter. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has been doing research on these "misconceptions" for years. Their website contains information about frequencies of various secondary student misconceptions, as well as see the actual test items students took.
- Paige Keeley has a series of books on formative assessment probes out through NSTA Press - Uncovering Student Ideas in Science. You can review sample chapters and introductory materials in earth, life, and physical sciences to see how these are set up.