Transforming Science Assessment: Challenges and Recommendations for States


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Since 2013, 44 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) or similar standards based on the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education, signaling a commitment to high-quality and rigorous science education for all students. States’ previous science standards took traditional approaches to science, emphasizing students “knowing” disconnected science facts and decontextualized, procedural skills. In contrast to standards that emphasized one aspect of science at a time, states’ new science standards are three-dimensional, and integrate disciplinary core ideas (DCIs), science and engineering practices (SEPs), and crosscutting concepts (CCCs) into performance expectations that require students to demonstrate knowledge-in-use as they make sense of realworld phenomena and solve authentic problems. This brief describes some key challenges associated with developing assessments for these new standards, and recommendations for states to consider.