State Science Assessment
The state's new Forward Exam in science will be completed in 2019. In spring of 2018, there will be two sets of 3-5 questions connected to an in-depth scenario and requiring rigorous use of science and engineering practices. There will also be two sets of these questions being field tested (will not count toward scores). For these new items, the 4th grade exam will have contexts aligning to the new Wisconsin Standards for Science (WSS) and the NGSS 4th grade standards. The 8th grade exam will align to the topics of the 6th through 8th grade WSS as well as the NGSS (pg. 47-75). These contexts will include engineering design standards, as found in the WSS and NGSS. Notably, the tests will focus on content understanding linked to work with science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts as detailed in the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education. New items will also be DOK 2 or 3; there will arguably be no DOK 1 items in 2019.
In 2019 the Forward Exam data will be reported out on new categories based on the Wisconsin Standards for Science and reflective of the three dimensions detailed in the NRC Framework and NGSS: disciplinary core ideas (content), science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts (ways of thinking). Those categories will tentatively focus on three-dimensional sense-making across the four main disciplines of the WSS:
- Students can use life sciences content understanding, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts to make sense of phenomena and solve problems.
- Students can use physical sciences content understanding, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts to make sense of phenomena and solve problems.
- Students can use earth and space sciences content understanding, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts to make sense of phenomena and solve problems.
- Students can use an understanding of engineering design and the connections of engineering, technology, and applications of science in society to make sense of phenomena and solve problems.
- DPI Forward Exam resource website
- One page overview of the specifications for the new Forward Exam (draft)
- Online sample items for science are now available from DRC - these samples use the full, online assessment platform. Select grade 4 or grade 8 science.
- 4th grade pdf set of sample items from DRC
- 8th grade pdf set of sample items from DRC
- As you'll see in the above examples, new sets of questions will include a multi-paragraph reading in a left-hand column to provide students background knowledge. This reading is not meant to be essential, but to even the playing field for students not familiar with a particular context. In a right-side column students will go through 3 to 5 questions related to this context. These questions will relate to content, practices, and ways of thinking in science. The items will have various formats - rarely typical multiple choice.
- Michigan, which also uses DRC as their assessment vendor, has released sample test items that are similar to what we have in Wisconsin (MI adopted the NGSS). You can view their 5th and 8th grade examples through their "Online Tools Training" website.
A ~6th grade example of a new item set using a scenario about heredity can be found here. Note: this is an example Kevin Anderson created, not an “official” vendor example.
ACT and ACT Aspire Science Exam Resources
- DPI ACT resources site
- Example questions from the Aspire Exam - click on the "science" link to science items
- Example science questions from the ACT - example online items from ACT
- The ACT College and Career Readiness Standards in Science - details the skills students need to reach ACT benchmarks.
- A Wisconsin group led by Jo Miller of CESA 8 created a draft alignment document connecting NGSS and ACT CCR
- NGSS Appendix C - details how NGSS supports college and career readiness and relates that to the ACT