Science Assessment

Published: 7/14/2017 7:54 AM

Seeking High School Teachers of Biology to Apply to Develop EOC Field Tests
Development of new End of Course Assessments for Biology (to be field tested in the spring of 2018) is beginning in August 2017. The Kentucky Department of Education is seeking Biology teachers to apply to work on the development of new assessments that align to the Kentucky Academic Standards. Criteria have been established to guide the selection of applicants and is available by clicking here. Applicants MUST be available on the following dates:
 
Thursday, August 24 – Saturday, August 26, 2017 – Frankfort, KY
 
Selected team members will receive a stipend of $250.00 for Saturday, August 26, plus travel expenses. Substitute teacher expenses for August 24 and 25 will be reimbursed to the teacher’s school district. Potential applicants are asked to verify the willingness of their school or district to release them for these two days prior to applying.
 
The application is available through the following survey link.
 
Applications will be accepted through Monday, July31, 2017. Selected team members will be notified on or before August 4, 2017

Science Through Course Task Field Test Survey
If you engaged in the Science Through Course Task Field Test, please take a moment to share opinions and recommendations based on your experience with a TCT and the TCT Process through the survey link. Thank you in advance for your support. Together we will continually improve this influential component of our Science Assessment System.

Science Assessment System Through Course Task Resource Bank

  • The Science Assessment System Through Course Task Resource Bank is now available with at least one task at each grade level (kindergarten through high school). 
  • Additional tasks will be added as they become available for at least 2 tasks per grade level.
  • T​hese tasks can be accessed through the SharePoint Science Assessment System Through Course Task Resource Bank​
  • These tasks are only available through SharePoint for Kentucky educators; log-in is required for access.  Please read the home page of the SharePoint site for additional information.

​​​​​​Video: Kentucky's Assessment System Design for Science Click on the image below to view the video.

Kentucky’s science assessment system: What is it?

Whether you are a sports fan or simply concerned with getting to dinner on time, you are familiar with a clock.

The components of that time-telling system include a second hand, a minute hand, and an hour hand– or indicators for them. All three are simultaneously advancing, each moving at a different rate, yet each is essential to providing the most accurate description of the time. If any one of them fails to function, you may still have some information – but you lose the precision. Depending on your purpose, losing any one of the pieces may actually render resulting information useless for the task.

That clock analogy can be used for our science assessment system. We have three particular components:

  • day-to-day, minute-to-minute checks for understanding or classroom embedded assessments;
  • periodic, common, formative ‘through course tasks’; and
  • our statewide summative tests

Each of these components is essential to advancing teaching and learning, and each provides necessary information for particular users and purposes.

These components of the assessment system occur on different schedules, but they are all moving in the same direction. Each of them collectively tells us about how a student is learning, but they also provide information that can be used to improve individual student learning, instructional practice and entire school programs.

The Kentucky science assessment system is based on the clear, defined learning expectations included in Kentucky’s Academic Standards for Science. A deliberate effort has been made to build the system on a foundation of what happens in every classroom every day (i.e., ‘classroom embedded assessments’) and through course tasks for classroom use for every grade level, K-high school. This information helps teachers and schools to better understand and support student learning progress continuously over time and evolve teacher growth and effectiveness.

A Systems Approach

Tony Wagner, an expert in residence at Harvard University’s Innovation Lab, suggests that only through a systems approach can we achieve the student outcomes we seek. In his book “Change Leadership,” Wagner states:

“Student achievement will not improve unless and until teaching improves. Higher standards, more testing, smaller schools, etc. do not, by themselves, improve teaching.

“Teachers, working alone, with little or no feedback on their instruction, will not be able to improve significantly – no matter how much professional development they receive.

“The challenge of change leadership is to create a ‘system’ for continuous improvement of instruction, supervision, and instructional leadership.”

The system approach addresses different users’ concerns. For example, students need to know what they are expected to learn and be able to do and receive specific information or feedback on how they are doing so they can improve. Teachers need to know if their translation of the standards into practice is on target with the intentions of the standards and if they are holding students and themselves to the correct level of expectation. Schools and districts need to know how courses and programs are doing at ensuring that each student is able to engage with science standards every year in school so they can become scientifically literate over their 13 year learning progression. Other community and state level shareholders need to know if public schools are succeeding at building a scientifically literate generation.

No single assessment can do all those things – but a coherent system aimed at producing needed information for such uses and users can.

What should we be doing now?

Read more on the Science Assessment System Components
Rae McEntyre
Office of Teaching and Learning
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-9850
Fax (502) 564-9848