Practice Brief 18 -- Topics: Implementation Assessment

How teachers can develop formative assessments that fit a three-dimensional view of science learning

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Why It Matters To You
  • Teachers should be using formative assessments as they implement instruction for 3D learning. There is a pressing need to develop 3D formative assessments.
  • District Staff & PD Providers need models of what 3D formative assessments look like and design criteria to modify or adapt existing formative assessments.
  • School Leaders should support teachers in collaborative spaces to experiment with 3D formative assessments.

What Is The Issue?

The new vision for K-12 science education and corresponding Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) promotes a three-dimensional view of learning in which students learn and apply disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) and cross-cutting concepts (CCCs) as they engage in science and engineering practices (SEPs). But what do 3D formative assessments look like? What are the different types of 3D formative assessment that could be used in classrooms? Educators should work with their peers to develop and refine formative assessments that fit with the 3D model of learning.



Reflection Questions

  • Where in your instruction might it be helpful to gauge students’ progress toward intermediate learning targets?
  • Anticipate student responses to formative assessments before using them. What feedback can you develop to move students forward in their learning?
  • How can different formative assessments—whole-class conversations, written activities, and student work—give you a coherent picture of what students know and can do?

Things to Consider

"It is critical that assessments help students internalize standards, become better able to reflect on and evaluate their own work & be motivated and capable of revising and improving it, as well as seeking out additional resources... to answer emerging questions."

Next Generation Assessment

Attending to Equity

Recommended Actions You Can Take


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Work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License. Others may adapt with attribution. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Opinions expressed are not those of any funding agency.