KSTA advocates for a scientifically literate citizenry. Science assessments are necessary tools for constructing and maintaining a system in which all students receive a science education, which will prepare them for participation in a scientifically literate society.
Meaningful and legitimate science assessment is realized only when stateholders - students, parents, teachers, school administrators, community members, business persons, policy makers, and government officials - share the responsibility for science learning and associated formative and summative assessments. These stakeholders need to provide adequate resources, equal access, leadership, environment, guidance, enthusiasm, incentives, and motivation for science learning. Quality science assessments should be mechanisms for accessing information on students'
* understanding of science content and process knowledge and skills
* abilities to think critically and solve simple to complex problems
* capabilities of designing scientific experiments, analyzing data, and drawing conclusions
* capacities to see and articulate relationships between science topics and real-world issues and concerns
* skills using mathematics as a tool for science learning
Assessment feedback reflects the learning setting and should be used to adjust course content, teaching techniques, or learning strategies to improve student science learning. Moreover, the assessment data should be used to craft appropriate teacher professional development experiences, identify students who need extra help and/or learning accommodations, and revisit and redesign assessment tools to better reflect the learning goals and instructional setting.
The data and knowledge gained from quality assessment can indicate how well students are meeting the science standards and expectations only if the assessment is appropriately aligned with the science curriculum and instruction. Science curriuculum goals, instructional topics and strategies, and assessment topics and techniques should be in alignment if tests are to yield useful data. Additionally, it is important the the processes used to collect and interpret evaluation data be consistent with the purpose of the assessment.
With respect to science assessment at all levels, KSTA advocates
- High expectations for science achievement
- Quality assessments be designed that reflect excellence in science curriculum and instruction based on current "best practices"
- All learners receive the necessary academic support and resources to succeed academically and test fairly in science
- Science curriculum, instruction, and assessment aligned so that formative and summative assessment data are meaningful and useful to those working to increase student science achievement at all levels
- Classroom teachers engaged in the science assessment creation/design process
- Teacher professional development opportunities that focus on aligning assessment with standards-based teaching
- Mulitple forms of science asessment used to measure student achievement and understanding
- Assessment type and/or form of assessment implementation adjusted on an individual basis to provide necessary accommodations for students with special neeeds
- Appropriate and adequate funding for alignment of science curriculum, instruction and assessment as well as subsequent science assessment implementation
- High-stakes science testing decisions regarding students, teachers, and schools be made based on multiple pieces of assessment data, not on single test instruments or single test administrations
Regarding the testing schedule for CATS statewide science assessment, KSTA recognizes the crucial importance of a coherent and well-articulated program of instruction at all three levels of school organization: elementary, middle and high school. In light of this need, KSTA advocates that CATS science assessment be scheduled to take place at the transition points from one level to the next, i.e. fifth grade, eighth grade and twelfth grade. This schedule is essential for the development of comprehensive and effective science education programs in all of Kentucky's schools.
2004 National Science Teachers Association
P.O. Box 23918
Lexington, KY 40523-3918