Category Archives: high school

Next Generation Science Assessment Tasks: Bethel School District

OVERVIEW: Tom HathornK-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.

 

Cheers,

Tom Hathorn

K-12 Science Specialist

Bethel School District

NGSS High School Evidence Statements Released

The High School evidence statements for the performance expectations in the Next Generation Science Standards have just been released. These evidence statements provide more clarity about what students should know and be able to do in order to clearly meet the 3 dimensional expectations of the NGSS.

I’ve only given the document a quick skim but I feel like this will be VERY helpful in my work supporting teachers in implementing the NGSS… looking forward to the Middle School and Elementary sets.

Click HERE to download the HS evidence statements.

NGSS Classroom Sample Assessment Tasks grades 6-12

Achieve has been promising a set of NGSS/CCSS Classroom Assessment Tasks for quite some time… and the first batch has finally arrived! There are currently middle school and high school assessment tasks with elementary on the way.

Click HERE to access the Front Matter for the assessment tasks.

Click HERE to access the assessment tasks as either pdf or Microsoft Word docs.

There are currently 4 middle school sample tasks and 5 high school sample tasks. I’m interested to hear how everyone plans on using these sample tasks.

Enjoy!

EarthEcho: Environmental Education Resources

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 2.32.36 PMEarthEcho is an international non-profit environmental education organization led by Philippe Cousteau Jr. The EarthEcho website is a hub for short video clips and educational resources. Check out one of the EarthEcho video clips embedded below- What Happens When We Flush? The site has resources for educators which can be accessed with a free online registration.

Thinking about Engineering Education

For the last 3 years I have been dabbling in Engineering Education. Most of the work has been at the awareness level- giving K-8 teachers (inservice and preservice) an introduction to the Engineering Design Process and helping them to think about how to identify and/or add some engineering tasks to their science instruction. With the release of the Next Generation Science Standards, we now have a strong driving force for intentional K-12 engineering education.

I have multiple projects in the 2013-14 school year that involve engineering education, so I am hoping to build up my own expertise on engineering in terms of engineering content, pedagogy, and professional development practices. Moving to a K-12 focus on engineering will be new for most of us. Below I have listed just a few of my favorite engineering resources (most of them FREE and perhaps lesser known) and have organized them by category. I’ll be posting on more individual resources in the coming weeks.

Overview of Engineering Education

Appendix I of NGSS– This is the cyclical 3 part Engineering Process we should be considering

Core Ideas of Engineering and Technology” by Cary Sneider NSTA Article

Engineering Education K-12– a 2009 report

2009 Issue of the Bridge– Linking engineering and society (has some good articles about teaching and learning engineering)

Resources on Engineering PD

Elementary Teacher Professional Development in Engineering: Lessons Learned from Engineering is Elementary

Engineering Efforts and Opportunities in the National Science Foundation’s Math and Science Partnerships (MSP) Program

Learning and Teaching Science Through Engineering Design: Insights and Implications for Professional Development

Engineering Advocacy

Engineering Messaging– Provides statements and tools for making the case for engineering education

Resources for teaching about Engineering

K-5 Application (Design) Handbook

Those Darn Squirrels (Teaching Engineering with a Picture Book)

A World in Motion– Sources of FREE K-12 Design Challenges

PBS Design Squad

More to come 🙂

NSTA July 2013 Journals: A Focus on Argumentation

The July 2013 issues of NSTA‘s journals all feature a focus on argumentation and explanation. Explanation and Argumentation are both Practices of Science & Engineering in the new Next Generation Science Standards. These two practices connect nicely with the Common Core Math and ELA Standards and are typically not well understood or implemented in K-12 classrooms.

These journal articles might supply a much needed focus on explanation and argumentation while also providing some tools and resources for our own professional development. I happen to be working on multiple projects this coming year related to explanation and argumentation so I hope to have much to share as the year progresses.

As usual, NSTA provides a few articles for FREE.. see below:

Science & Children (elementary science)

Science Scope (middle school)

The Science Teacher (high school)

 

ChemCollective: Resources for Chemistry Teachers

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 2.21.12 PMChemCollective is a project in the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) that is supported by NSF and Carnegie Melon University. ChemCollective provides resources designed to support teachers of chemistry in designing engaging and interactive online activities for students. ChemCollective has been around for several years but they recently redesigned their web presence so you may want to check it out. Some of the chemistry teaching and learning tools will find on the site include: