Delaware will lead the nation in changing the way students are assessed in science.

Delaware adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as the state’s science content standards in October 2013.

As the state eyes a new science assessment, educators are using this as an opportunity to revamp how the state measures students’ science mastery.

According to WGMD News Radio, the tests will go beyond multiple choice and short answer assessments to include hybrid models where students manipulate materials and data offline then provide responses on a computerized platform.

“Educators in the field have led the call for this change and innovation,” Secretary of Education Steve Godowsky said. “The leadership of the Science Coalition – which unifies educators, district and charter leaders, and representatives from the higher education and business communities – has been key to the development of the state’s plan.”

Delaware envisions a comprehensive science assessment system in grades 3 to 10, consisting of three distinct types of assessment. Under this system, throughout the academic year students in grades 3 to 10 will take teacher-developed quizzes that will provide educators and students information on learning in real time. These will be teacher-developed with the intention of becoming part of an open access item bank that teachers can use at their discretion.

Students will also take tests shortly after the completion of each instructional unit. Each end-of-unit test is meant to provide information on student learning of the NGSS content in each unit for the purposes of instruction (e.g., determining if additional instruction on previously instructed topics is needed) and evaluation (e.g., informing curriculum adoption, adaptation, and modification) at classroom, school, district and state levels.

Finally, students in grades 5, 8, and 10 (biology) will also complete a performance task meant to capture students’ learning of the content instructed during the entire year in greater depth than on the end-of-unit tests. This assessment is meant to capture the ways that students integrate, transfer and apply science knowledge and skills learned during the year.

Click here to read the full story from WGMD News Radio (August 25, 2016)

Click here to read a press release from Delaware Department of Education.

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