NAEP data suggest need for implementation of Framework vision

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released the results of the interactive science assessment administered nationwide to students at grades 4, 8, and 12.  Along with the results NAEP has released three of the Hands-on Tasks (HOTS) they developed to assess student ability to plan and conduct scientific investigations, reason through complex problems, and apply scientific knowledge to real world problems.  NAEP is also releasing all nine of the Interactive Computer Tasks which simulate natural and laboratory experimentation.

The NAEP data show three major findings that extend across the grade levels.

  • “Students were successful on parts of investigations that involved limited sets of data and straightforward observations of that data.
  • Students were challenged by parts of investigations that showed more variables to manipulate or involved strategic decision making to collect appropriate data.
  • The percentage of students who could select correct conclusions from an investigation was higher than for those students who could select correct conclusions and also explain their results.” (NAEP, 2012)

Students who participated in the NAEP also reported having limited opportunities in science classes to write explanations and explain results. While this data is correlational not causal, it certainly invites some pondering.  Would standards that place a priority on use of models and developing evidence-supported arguments lead to more opportunities in classrooms to develop reasoning skills?

The vision of the Framework seems like the right support at the right time for developing higher-order thinking and critical reasoning skills in Maine learners.