Supporting the Implementation of NGSS through Research: Assessment

From the authors: "The NGSS [Next Generation Science Standards] identify three dimensions essential for providing students with a quality science education: science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts across domains of science, and disciplinary core ideas. Integrating these dimensions provides a meaningful context for science content and practices—how science knowledge is acquired and understood through conceptual connections across disciplines. The dimensions are blended in what is called in the standards, performance expectations—assessable components that articulate what students should know and be able to do when instruction is effective. This [paper] focuses on critical issues related to assessments designed to provide evidence regarding students’ proficiency in meeting the NGSS performance expectations. Two questions guide the statement: (1) what conceptual frameworks should be considered if these assessments are to be useful in both the classroom and large-scale assessment contexts, and (2) what is required to develop assessments that align with the performance expectations proposed by the NGSS?" 

Content Comments 

The authors of this paper effectively state their purposes and meet them, combining their own expertise and research into useful guidance. The communications quality is reflective of an academic paper rather than an illustrated brochure or policy brief. The language is strongly academic, but the writing is well organized and logical. The paper should be useful primarily to states and assessment developers creating or implementing new science assessments. It has a fairly detailed and useful section on science assessment for English language learners, but little coverage regarding students with disabilities and possible validity issues for students with greater access to technology than others. Nevertheless, the authors raise excellent points and make useful recommendations throughout.