In this Policy Update, NASBE’s Deputy Executive Director, Francis Eberle, provides policy considerations for state boards of education around creating comprehensive approaches to monitor and assess students’ progress towards the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Given that the NGSS specifies what students should know and be able to do across three dimensions (scientific and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and cross-cutting concepts), Eberle writes that no single assessment or statewide assessment system is adequate in measuring whether students have met the NGSS. In this brief, Eberle asks three guiding questions for policy considerations: (1) who will use the assessment data; (2) what do you want to measure; and (3) what is the timeline for developing and implementing assessments?
This is an informative brief for state boards of education that are starting to develop assessments for the NGSS. Although Eberle states that there currently is no single or statewide assessment that can measure student achievement of the NGSS, he acknowledges that much is known about science learning, the materials to support that learning, and how to assess that learning. He provides some examples of these assessments. Eberle states that while developing a comprehensive assessment takes time and coordination, the good news is that it is possible for state boards of education to create a new model for assessments that better represent student learning and measurement.