OVERVIEW: Tom Hathorn, K-12 Science Specialist for the Bethel School District in Washington State, has worked with his science team to create a spectacular set of grade 6-12 science formative assessment tasks for understanding the Next Generation Science Standards. These assessments are designed to be “objects of study” as we all continue to learn about 2 Dimensional and 3 Dimensional assessment. The assessment tasks meet the following criteria:
- Items are based on a stimulus with an anchoring phenomena
- Each item assesses at least 2 of the 3 Dimensions of NGSS
- Tasks are based on bundles of NGSS performance expectations
- Individual items are connected to specific evidence statements
There are currently 17 assessment tasks and I can just about guarantee that any grade 6-12 teacher of science will find at least one task that matches NGSS Performance Expectations in your course/grade. You will find tasks targeting life science, physical science, Earth/Space science and Engineering Design.
PURPOSE: These NGSS assessment tasks are intended to be used as professional learning objects so that we can all move forward in our understanding of how 3 Dimensional Assessment will be different than typical classroom assessments. In Bethel, they have created modified lessons and units that match these assessment tasks. Here is how Tom describes the use of these assessment tasks with his teachers:
Purpose & Expectations: Become More Proficient at 3-D Learning & Assessment
- Primary Purpose: These lessons and assessments afford teachers the chance to understand, implement, and discuss “3-dimensional” lessons and assessments.
- All teachers should:
- Use the NGSS lesson modifications.
- Give the NGSS assessment.
- Use the assessment as fodder for student-student conversation.
- Discuss their lesson observations & student work with colleagues.
- The results will be used to “optimize” the lesson plans.
AUDIENCE: K-12 teachers of science, district leaders, Curriculum and Assessment Directors, PD providers, pre-service teachers, building administrators, parents, others
LINK: Tom has built a shared Google Folder at the link HERE. You will find several supporting documents. You will want to go to the folder titled Bethel NGSAs- For 3D Planning… Inside this folder you will find labeled folders with documents for each of the assessment tasks. Each folder contains the Stimulus and the Items as separate documents. There is purposefully No Answer Key or Rubric for these.
Here is a note from Tom on the use of these assessments:
About these NGSAs (Next Generation Science Assessments)
You’ll see presentation materials as well as the assessments themselves.
Caveat – These represent our first efforts…we’re getting better at it:
We are learning a lot about 3D assessment and instruction (happily…that’s the point). A few lessons-learned:
- Doing the NGSAs, studying the evidence statements, and tweaking the items is very good learning for teachers.
- The new Task Formats document is a great tool for assessment & instructional tasks; the slides from AIR’s presentation about item types is also very helpful to teachers who want to do NGSA work.
- In our 2nd round of NGSA work I left more room for improving the items/cluster, which engaged the teachers in considering the different selected-response item types. With one group I wrote all items as constructed-response, then had them decide which ones to revise into selected-response…this seemed to work very well.
- These NGSAs are time-consuming, and so we’re getting better at using selected-response items and writing fewer items that target important-but-not-every evidence statement.
- Teachers are using the NGSAs in alternate ways, not always single-sitting (choosing only some items, using as homework, spreading them out over time).
- We are emphasizing that these are intended as formative assessments, so consider which items to discuss, and what kind of discourse to use (see Page Keeley’s Formative Assessment in Science vol.1 & vol.2, which have been revised to focus on NGSS Practices & Crosscutting Concepts). These student conversations are nice opportunities to engage students in the 3 dimensions.
- Engaging administrators with a few items from NGSAs has helped them to understand NGSS, what’s reasonable (or not) to expect from teachers at this point, and how to support teachers & teacher leaders.
K-12 Science Specialist
Bethel School District