Question 2-1: Does the state take a systems approach to assessment? That is, are assessments at various levels of the system (classroom, school district, state) coherent with each other and built around shared goals for science education and the student learning outcomes described in the state standards?
Question 2-2: Does the state have in place mechanisms for maintaining coherence among its standards, assessments, curricula, and instructional practices? For example, does the state have in place a regular cycle for reviewing and revising curriculum materials, instructional practices, and assessments to ensure that they are coherent with each other and with the state science standards, and that they adhere to the principles of learning and teaching outlined in this report? Does the state conduct studies to formally monitor and evaluate the alignment between its standards and assessments?
Question 3-1: Does the state’s science assessment system target the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind that are necessary for science literacy? For example, does it include items, tasks, or tests that require students to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena based on scientific principles, laws, and theories; understand articles about science; distinguish questions that can be answered scientifically from those that cannot; evaluate the quality of information on the basis of its source; pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence; and apply conclusions appropriately?
Question 3-2: Does the state’s science assessment system reflect current scientific knowledge and understanding? For example, does the state have in place mechanisms to ensure that all of the measures that comprise the assessment system are scientifically accurate?
Question 3-3: Does the state’s science assessment system measure students’ understanding and ability to apply important scientific content knowledge and scientific practices and processes? For example, does it include a focus on assessing students’ understanding of the big ideas of science as opposed to recall of isolated facts, formulas, and procedures?
Question 3-4: Has the state conducted an independent review of its content standards to ensure that they articulate both the skills and the content knowledge students need to achieve science literacy?
Question 3-5: Does the state’s science assessment system reflect contemporary understandings of how people learn science?
Question 3-6: Is the state’s science assessment system consistent with the nature of scientific inquiry and practice as it is outlined in the state standards? For example, are opportunities built into the assessment system to assess students’ abilities to conduct extended scientific investigations, if such abilities are included in the state’s science standards?