Importance of Science Assessment Systems
Truly understanding what students know and can do in science requires synthesizing evidence from a system of assessments that includes elements at various levels, from the classroom to the school to the state. The critical piece is having groups of educators come together and talk about student performance across multiple assessments and how that provides evidence of progress toward a vision for science education, which should be the core of the Educator Effectiveness and SLO goal process. Components of an assessment system could include: formative performance tasks, lab reports, projects, scientific research, notebooks/portfolios, surveys, and statewide summative tests.
What Does a System of Assessment Look Like in Science?
- One-Page Overview of Systems in Science Assessment (and as pdf) - provides ideas for why/how to support a system of assessment, along with resources and implementation supports
- What could this system look like in science? - article giving an overview of the components of an assessment system in science.
- Making SLOs Mearningful - an article on meaningful SLOs for teachers and students - moving beyond standardized tests.
- NRC NGSS Assessment Report - this report describes what assessment should look like under NGSS, emphasizing a system of assessments and detailing what that might look like.
- NRC Guide to Implementing the NGSS - Chapter 6 is about implementing NGSS assessment, noting systems and formative assessment ideas.
- Achieve NGSS Systems of Assessment Reports - guidance on important elements in systems of assessment work
- DPI Resources for Strategic Systems of Assessment - this new series of tools supports districts in strategicall implementing an assessment system.
- Kentucky's Assessment System - Kentucky has a unique system of assessments utilizing school-level common tasks. Their framework may be useful for district planning.
- Stanford article on coherent systems of assessment in science - J. Osborne and J. Wertheim, 2019
Surveys should be an important part of an assessment system. They can provide a sense of students' self-efficacy in science and their understanding of the nature of science.
- One-Page Overview of Student Surveys in Science (and in pdf form) - provides ideas for why and how to conduct student surveys, along with resources, examples, and implementation supports
- Article detailing the use of surveys in an assessment system with links to sample surveys.
- ACT Wisconsin Condition of STEM Report 2016 - provides interesting data on student interest in STEM subjects.
- NSTA article, "Formative Assessment for Equitable Learning" - focuses on using practical measure (aka surveys) to better explore the needs, experiences and identities of students in the science classroom.
Notebooks are a critical piece of the work of scientists and engineers. If students are not notebooking, they NOT are working like professionals in these fields. Both notebooks and portfolios can be an important piece of the assessment system, providing insights into student thinking not available in other ways. Ideally, students will have a role in designing and evaluating their notebooks and portfolios.
- EdWorld Article on Student Portfolios
- NSTA Articles on Science Notebooks - collection of NSTA resources related to science notebooking (membership may be required)
- Links to interviews of scientists and engineers talking about communication skills in their work including use of notebooks