Align Your Assessments with Three-Dimensional Learning

By Liftig, Inez | Science Scope, September 2014 | Go to article overview

Align Your Assessments with Three-Dimensional Learning


Liftig, Inez, Science Scope


You might think that a journal theme centered on Next Generation Science Standards-based (NGSS) assessment is too ambitious at this time, since many states are still considering adoption or are only in the early stages of NGSS implementation. However, effective assessment is integral to the three-dimensional learning and teaching needed to realize the vision of the NGSS and A Framework for K-12 Science Education, upon which the new standards are based. Forewarned is forearmed: Now is time to start thinking about assessments aligned with these documents--regardless of the position of your state on NGSS adoption.

The National Academies Press (NAP) recently released Developing Assessments for the "Next Generation Science Standards," a report from the National Research Council Committee on Developing Assessments of Science Proficiency in K-12. The report contains recommendations for policy makers and assessment developers, but it is also of value to middle school teachers since it includes a 50-page chapter about formative and summative classroom assessments and detailed NGSS-aligned examples that teachers will find very helpful in planning instruction and assessment.

Of particular interest are the four characteristics of classroom assessments given in the report:

* "the use of a variety of assessment activities that mirror the variety in NGSS-aligned instruction;

* tasks that have multiple components so they can yield evidence of three-dimensional learning (and multiple performance expectations);

* explicit attention to the connections among scientific concepts; and

* the gathering of information about how far students have progressed along a defined sequence of learning" (NRC 2014). …

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