Proficiency in Science: Assessment Challenges and Opportunities

As part of a Science magazine special issue on grand challenges in science education, the author provides an overview of the promise for the future of science learning with the release of the NGSS, and of the challenges associated with achieving the full vision of the NGSS. The paper focuses on the implications of assessment on instruction, noting that what states and schools choose to assess often dictates what will be included in instruction. Overviews of the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education, the NGSS, and different approaches to measuring proficiency in science are included. Challenges in designing assessments to measure proficiency in science, and examples of existing projects attempting to assess science through the integration of conceptual knowledge with aspects of science practices, are explored.

Content Comments 

This paper provides a concise summary of the new perspective on science proficiency that is presented in the NRC’s Framework for K-12 Science Education and the NGSS, and provides a high-level overview of its implications for assessment. Although the paper does not provide the level of detail provided in other resources released more recently, it does condense the important facts and challenges into a helpful summary. This would be a good starting point for educators or policymakers looking for a high-level summary of the state of the NGSS and upcoming NGSS-aligned assessments. A more thorough and detailed analysis of the implications of the NGSS on assessment is provided in the BOTA report.