Science Assessment Item Collaborative

To assist states as they implement new science standards, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Science Assessment Item Collaborative (SAIC), in collaboration with WestEd, has documented a range of options, accompanying rationales, and item cluster prototypes to guide the development of summative assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). These documents and prototypes address the major issues facing state education agencies and other entities that are implementing new science standards by documenting the processes needed to guide the development of assessments for the NGSS.

The SAIC produced the following guiding documentation that will be used by the 15 participating states—and are available publicly—to inform large-scale NGSS test and item development:

  • An Assessment Framework that includes the overall test design, description of an aligned test item cluster as the foundational unit of an NGSS-aligned assessment, specifications for various types of test items, and accessibility principles;
  • Item Specifications Guidelines that detail a model of NGSS item cluster specifications, classify item types for consideration in an item cluster, identify key elements for each item cluster, and describe the linkage between item clusters and the NGSS;
  • Two Item Cluster Prototypes (Grade 5 and High School) that can be used by the participating states to inform test item development. Each prototype includes a description of the cluster’s alignment to performance expectation targets, NGSS dimensions (i.e., Disciplinary Core Ideas [DCI], Science and Engineering Practices [SEP], and Crosscutting Concepts [CCC]), NGSS evidence statements, and a description of how the items are designed to function as a unit.

The states and entity that participated in the Science Assessment Item Collaborative include Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

 

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Assessment Framework

The Assessment Framework provides a range of options and accompanying rationales for the development of NGSS-aligned items and summative assessments.

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Item Specifications Guidelines

The Item Specifications Guidelines, developed as a companion document to the SAIC Assessment Framework, provides a methodical and practical guide for the development of Item Specifications for the assessment of the NGSS. It discusses issues pertinent to assessment development and provides a road map for the development of clear, comprehensive specifications for NGSS-aligned item clusters.

 

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Grade 5 Item Cluster Prototype

The Grade 5 Item Cluster Prototype was designed to follow the principles and recommendations set forth in the SAIC Assessment Framework and Item Specifications Guidelines for an NGSS-aligned large-scale summative assessment item cluster. The prototype serves as an initial model for measuring the three-dimensional science learning called for in the NGSS and should promote ongoing dialogue about the vision for a truly next-generation science assessment. The item cluster can now be previewed live with interactive items and media.

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High School Item Cluster Prototype

The High School Item Cluster Prototype was designed to follow the principles and recommendations set forth in the SAIC Assessment Framework and Item Specifications Guidelines for an NGSS-aligned large-scale summative assessment item cluster. The prototype serves as an initial model for measuring the three-dimensional science learning called for in the NGSS and should promote ongoing dialogue about the vision for a truly next-generation science assessment.

We welcome your feedback about the Collaborative's framework, guidelines, and prototypes. Please submit comments at the CSAI Contact Us page.

Addendum to the SAIC Assessment Framework 

In December 2016, WestEd administered a survey to SAIC members states to understand the ways in which member states have used SAIC materials. These survey responses provide understanding of how the SAIC Assessment Framework has been used in the development of NGSS-aligned assessments.  

Based on SAIC members' survey responses, WestEd and the Center on Standards and Assessment Implementation have created this addendum, which provides an overview of proposed adjustments to scope or content. These adjustments are drawn from SAIC members' survey responses; a summary of these survey responses can also be found in the addendum. 

 

SAIC Addendum Survey Flyer

 

SAIC Survey Findings

As a follow-up to the resources developed by the CCSSO Science Assessment Item Collaborative (SAIC), WestEd administered a survey designed to capture how states have used the original SAIC materials. This flyer summarizes how use of the SAIC materials has evolved from the original documentation based on the unique needs of each state.

 

 

Webinar: Item Cluster Prototype for Assessment of the NGSS

On November 19, 2015, CCSSO and WestEd provided an in-depth preview of the Grade 5 Item Cluster Prototype.

 

Webinar: Assessment Framework and Item Cluster Prototypes: New Tools to Support NGSS Large-Scale Assessment Development 

On September 19, 2016, experts from CSAI and the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction discussed the development of NGSS-aligned assessment items. This discussion also included information on how the SAIC has informed Washington's development of a state science assessment aligned with NGSS. 

 

* Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)® is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards was involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.