Constructing a Framework for Science Assessment Systems

Collaborating Institutions: 
Stanford University, University of California, Los Angeles, Sonoma State University, WestEd, BEAR Center

Stanford University Participants: 
Rich Shavelson, Ayita Ruiz-Primo, Susan Schultz

University of California, Los Angeles Participants: 
Joan Herman, Ellen Osmundson

Sonoma State University Participants: 
Carlos Ayala

WestEd Participants: 
Mike Timms, Steve Schneider

This project seeks to create, validate, and publish a practical and research-based framework to guide state science assessment systems in striving to meet the criteria of coherence, comprehensiveness, and continuity. Our research and development for the framework will draw on existing research and will reflect our belief in the need for appropriate usage of valid assessment systems grounded in sound cognitive theories of science learning. Our goal is to produce a framework that can be used by policy-makers, state and district education staff, and others involved in decision-making processes that measure student achievement in science.

The framework will support decision-makers who need to choose a set of curriculum and assessments (both formative and summative) or develop a new assessment system to match a set of standards and curriculum. As such, the framework will be for use primarily by those involved in choosing, specifying, or designing state or district science assessments, such as State Board of Education members, State Department of Education staff, and school district staff. The framework will assist states in different ways dependent upon their needs. For states wanting to create a science assessment system, it will provide a design blueprint for the development of new assessment systems that will link standards-based, large-scale assessments to classroom instructional assessments. For other states wanting to augment assessments already in place, or wanting to evaluate assessments they intend to adopt, the framework will provide a lens through which to look at the quality of existing large-scale assessments and a method for linking them to standards, to classroom instructional assessments, and to national and international measures of science performance (e.g., TIMSS, NAEP). The framework will also provide guidance for teacher's classroom instructional and assessment practices to best maintain the linkage of effective science learning, standards, and assessment use.