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Designing NGSS Assessments to Evaluate the Efficacy of Curriculum Interventions

Abstract

"The Framework for K - 12 Science Education (National Research Council [NRC], 2012) presents an ambitious vision for improving teaching and learning in science, and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS; NGSS Lead States, 2013) embody a key part of that vision by specifying challenging performance expectations that all students are expected to meet. Realizing the vision of the Framework, though, will require more than state adoption of the standards. It will require changes across the educational system to support implementation, including changes to curriculum, instruction, teacher professional development, and assessment (NRC, 2012).

With respect to assessment, the changes required will depend on the purposes for which assessments are intended to be used. Program evaluation is one of three different purposes for assessment identified in the Framework. Programs that are the object of evaluation in science education include curricula, in-service professional development programs, and focused interventions that target specific populations of students, either in or out of school. Since the Sputnik era, policy makers have provided funding to develop and test these kinds of programs in science education, on the premise that such programs provide necessary support for teachers to meet new and ambitious goals for student learning. Evaluations of these programs require assessments that are aligned to standards, in order to test this core premise."

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