WA State: Science Assessment Update March 2015

Hi all,

OSPI just sent out an email announcement regarding Science Assessment so I wanted to push out the information here as well. The text below is copied directly from the email.

A couple of items to note:

a. The online Science Training Test for the Grade 5 and Grade 8 Science MSP is up and ready for use. This year there is a different test engine/platform so you will want to check it out.

b. The first state assessments (testing the Next Generation Science Standards) are expected no sooner than the spring of 2018.

Questions regarding the information below can be directed to Science@k12.wa.us

Science Training Test for the Online Measurements of Student Progress (MSP)


The Science Training Test for the Grade 5 and the Grade 8 MSP is now available on the Washington State Comprehensive Assessment Program (WCAP) Portal.  The WCAP portal is the access point for the Washington assessment system tools and resources.

The 2015 spring online Science MSP will use the same test engine/platform as the Smarter Balanced Assessments for ELA and Mathematics. There are several features on the test engine that will be different from prior versions of the online science tests:

  • There are no “click to enlarge” graphics, or bulleted lists in items.
  • Short answer items will not appear over multiple screens.
  • Items for a scenario will appear together on the right side of the screen, just like the ELA passages and items appear together on the Smarter Balanced test. 

Science Assessment Resources

Please visit the Science Assessment Educator Resources webpage to access a variety of documents intended to assist teachers, students, and parents in preparation for the Science MSP and Biology End-of-Course (EOC).

 Examples of resources include:

  • Science Short-Answer Scoring Trainings
    Video presentations showing how student responses are scored using rubrics for the Biology EOC/COE and Science MSP.
  • Science Assessment Updates
    These documents include: information about the science assessment system; sample items to familiarize teachers and students with the item types on the assessments; and scoring information for educators.
  • Lessons Learned from Scoring Student Work
    The Science Assessment Team shares observations about student responses for the Measurements of Student Progress and the Biology End-of-Course exam pilot items.
  • Science Short-Answer Item Templates
    Templates that can be edited for use in classroom practice by incorporating content from any unit in a science curriculum.

Science Assessment Development Update

WA State 2009 K-12 Science Learning Standards

Invitations to apply for summer Pilot Rangefinding and fall Data Review committees will be sent via GovDelivery in May. Information will be posted on the Science Assessment Professional Development Opportunities webpage.

WA State 2013 K-12 Science Learning Standards (NGSS)

Washington has joined a collaborative group of 13 states and 1 territory to begin the development of assessments based on the Next Generation Science Standards (known in Washington as the Washington State 2013 K-12 Science Learning Standards). The group work is being coordinated by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). This group met for the first time in February. We will keep you posted about the progress of the collaborative, and if there are opportunities for educator reviews of documents during the development stages we will be sure to let you know.

The first state assessments for the new standards are expected no earlier than spring 2018.

Interactions: a FREE High School NGSS Curriculum

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 3.06.16 PMInteractions is a set of NGSS-aligned high school instructional materials targeting physical science concepts, science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts. The materials are part of an NSF-funded project involving Michigan State University, University of Michigan and The Concord Consortium. You can find the materials on the Concord Consortium site HERE.

Currently 1 of the 4 units are available. You will find 6 of 7 investigations with Teacher Guides. These materials should be of use not only to HS Science teachers but could act as models for anyone looking to build NGSS learning experiences. The site also includes “phenomenal videos” and it sounds like there will be more video resources coming soon.

NGSS NOW Newsletter: March

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 1.21.34 PMDid you know that Nextgenscience.org offers a monthly NGSS Newsletter? Well, they do. Click HERE to read the March issue of NGSS Now and click HERE to sign up via email.

The Physics of Water Drops: NYTimes Video

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 12.10.10 PMHERE is a short video from the New York Times that is part science and part art- enjoy The Physics of Water Drops.

New NGSS Resources on the NGSS@NSTA site

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 5.20.24 PMPerhaps you are like me and for the past several months you’ve been checking the Next Generation Science Standards on the NSTA site. You click on a standard and then scroll to the bottom of the page to a section titled Resources & Lesson Plans and you see… Coming Soon!

Well today I clicked on a standard, scrolled down… and there was a resource posted! This is very exciting. The NSTA NGSS Curators have been working hard to identify vetted NGSS resources and some things are being posted. Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 5.12.33 PM

I recommend visiting the NGSS@NSTA site and poking around a bit. The formatting of the site and inclusion of instructional resources provides a much different resource than Nextgenscience.org.

NGSS on CORElaborate Site

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 4.50.01 PMPuget Sound Educational Service District here in Washington State hosts a site called CORElaborate that features tools, resources, and blog posts about teaching the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. This projects supports a group of teacher leaders who are charged with blogging and tweeting about their experiences.

Three of the teacher leaders who are sharing their learnings and thoughts about NGSS are:

Tom Hathorn @thathorn : A recent post: The Reasoning Problem: NGSS Can Help! Part 1

Doug Ferguson @daskalosdouglas : A recent post- What is STEM and When are We Going to Start Doing it?

Hallie Mills @halliemills : A recent post- Shaking it Up with NGSS and CCSS

I highly recommend following these folks on Twitter and their blog posts on CORElaborate.

NGSS Videos on Teaching Channel

The Teaching Channel has just published a series of 4 videos to support our understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards. The videos center on teacher professional development and provide an overview of NGSS and the 3 dimensions as seen below:

The videos are each around 5-6 minutes and highlight teachers engaged in the 3 Dimensions of the NGSS. These should be useful for use in teacher professional development on NGSS.