How Can Simulations Be Components of Balanced State Science Assessment Systems?

This policy brief offers guidance and recommendations on how simulation-based science assessments can be included in the next generation of state science assessment systems. The authors report on research conducted on the simulation-based science assessment module SimScientists. The reported research focused on the technical quality, feasibility, and utility of simulation-based science assessments. The brief provides recommendations on two possible models for incorporating SimScientists into state science assessment systems.

Content Comments 

Policymakers and assessment developers will find this brief informative, as the inclusion of simulation-based science assessment has been the focus of discussion in multiple reports on the design of NGSS-aligned assessments (including the report Developing Assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards). SimScientists supports a multidimensional approach to science assessment, as it assesses both science concepts and practices in a simulated dynamic science system. The brief does not address the NGSS directly, as it was published before the release of the standards, but it is applicable in that it develops assessment targets that reflect research on model-based learning based on the NRC’s Framework for K-12 Science Education.