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Formative Assessment for Next Generation Science Standards: A Proposed Model

Abstract

"Historically, educational policymakers have focused on and invested heavily in accountability testing of learning to leverage improvement in student learning. Through accountability testing, policy makers aim to communicate standards, establish performance goals, provide data through which educators can analyze and improve school programs and student performance, and establish incentives and sanctions to motivate action. Today, however, there is growing recognition of the limitations of accountability testing of learning and wide acknowledgment and accumulating evidence of the crucial role that formative assessment-assessment for learning-can play in helping all students achieve rigorous standards. Rather than looking back to judge what has been learned, formative assessment projects forward. It involves the ongoing collection and use of assessment during instruction to understand where students are relative to intended goals, as well as the use of that data to take immediate action-to adapt teaching and learning-to help students get to where they need to go. Attesting to the popularity of formative assessment in current educational policy and practice, the two Race to the Top Common Core State Standards assessment consortia are charged with developing formative and interim tools and practices, in addition to end-of-year accountability tests. Formative assessment must also be an essential-if not the key-component of any assessment system for the Next Generation Science Standards(NGSS Lead States, 2013)."

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