Science Assessment Item Collaborative
To assist states as they implement new science standards, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Science Assessment Item Collaborative (SAIC), in collaboration with WestEd, documented a range of options, accompanying rationales, and item cluster prototypes to guide the development of summative assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)®.*
The SAIC produced the following publicly available resources for the 15 participating states to use to inform large-scale NGSS test and item development:
- An Assessment Framework
- Items Specifications Guidelines
- Cluster Prototypes (Grades 5 and 12)
The states and entities that participated in the Science Assessment Item Collaborative include Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
* Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)® is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards was involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.
The Assessment Framework provides a range of options and accompanying rationales for the development of NGSS-aligned items and summative assessments. It includes the overall test design, description of an aligned test item cluster as the foundational unit of an NGSS-aligned assessment, specifications for various types of test items, and accessibility principles.
The SAIC developed the Item Specifications Guidelines as a companion document to the Assessment Framework. The document provides a methodical and practical guide for the development of Item Specifications for the assessment of the NGSS. It discusses issues pertinent to assessment development and provides a road map for the development of clear, comprehensive specifications for NGSS-aligned item clusters.
The Grade 5 and Grade 12 Item Cluster Prototypes follow the principles and recommendations set forth in the SAIC Assessment Framework and Item Specifications Guidelines for an NGSS-aligned large-scale summative assessment item cluster. The prototypes serve as initial models for measuring the three-dimensional science learning called for in the NGSS and should promote ongoing dialogue about the vision for a truly next-generation science assessment.
The Grade 5 item cluster can now be previewed live with interactive items and media.
Follow-up and Addendum and Resources
As a follow-up to the resources developed by the CCSSO Science Assessment Item Collaborative (SAIC), WestEd administered a survey in December 2016 designed to capture how states have used the original SAIC materials. WestEd developed or amended the following resources based on SAIC member survey responses.
This flyer summarizes how use of the SAIC materials has evolved from the original documentation based on the unique needs of each state.
Based on SAIC members’ follow-up survey responses, this addendum to the SAIC Assessment Framework provides an overview of proposed adjustments to scope or content. A summary of the survey responses can also be found in the addendum.
WestEd worked with the Delaware Department of Education to develop this white paper that presents a new model for evaluating the cognitive ranges of large-scale assessment aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.
One of the most commonly used tools for NGSS-aligned assessment is the item cluster; where multiple dimensions of one or more performance expectations are tested via multiple items of different types. The design of item clusters involves numerous decisions that must be considered early in the development process. This paper examines these development considerations and offers sample item cluster procedural design criteria.
Quality Expectations and Development Considerations of Item Clusters Assessing Multidimensional Science Standards
A number of effective approaches and strategies related to the measurement of multidimensional science standards have emerged through early development efforts of large-scale assessments. This paper discusses several key considerations for designing and developing effective next generation science assessments, including an exploration of the quality expectations and development considerations that help support development.
When seeking to ensure multidimensional item alignments, assessment developers must begin with the end in mind. Without constant and careful attention to alignment considerations, item alignment can weaken throughout the development process. This paper explores the challenges of developing multidimensional assessment items and offers a guiding framework that can help practitioners maintain focus on alignment throughout all stages of development.
On November 19, 2015, CCSSO and WestEd provided an in-depth preview of the Grade 5 Item Cluster Prototype. These resources include:
- Webinar Slide Deck
- Webinar Transcription
- Webinar Video
Webinar: Assessment Framework and Item Cluster Prototypes: New Tools to Support NGSS Large-Scale Assessment Development
On September 19, 2016, experts discussed the development of NGSS-aligned assessment items. This discussion also included information on how the SAIC has informed Washington’s development of a state science assessment aligned with NGSS. These resources include:
- Webinar Slide Deck
- Webinar Video