Next Generation Science Assessments
James Pellegrino and Louis DiBello are leading a project funded by the National Science Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to develop a new system of classroom assessments that aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The two collaborative grants (one in physical science and one in life science) were awarded to the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago, CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University, the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International, and The Concord Consortium. Our collaborative group is creating a dramatically different assessment system that includes task design templates, assessment tasks, task rubrics, and materials that support teachers’ use of the tasks in their classrooms. In developing and testing these tasks, we integrate technology and advanced psychometric models to measure student performance under NGSS.
Developing new assessments is important because NGSS significantly changes the way that K to 12 science will be taught in school, and changes what students are expected to know and be able to do at each grade level. The new standards are aimed at making science education more closely resemble the way scientists work and think, and are based on research about learning that demonstrates the importance of building coherent understandings over time. The new approach to science education envisioned under NGSS depends on high-quality, aligned assessments of student learning. With that in mind, our collaboration aims to help provide educators with methods to help all students succeed under the new standards. One of the important goals of the project is to include teachers in co-designing a set of effective strategies for using the assessments formatively and to monitor student learning as a basis for instructional decision-making. Work on this project is being done in collaboration with educators across multiple locales, including the Chicago Public School District and Waukegan Public School District in Illinois, and educators in Michigan, Oklahoma, Florida, and Wisconsin.