Assessments

Assessment items have been developed through various projects. You can browse them by the project through which they were developed or by associated NGSS statements across all projects.

The Matter and Energy for Growth and Activity (MEGA) test items were developed to assess high school students’ understanding of ideas about matter and energy changes and energy transfer that are aligned to learning goals in the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education and Next Generation Science Standards. The items were developed to evaluate the promise of the Matter and Energy for Growth and Activity curriculum unit that is published by NSTA Press (AAAS, 2019). The test items can be used to assess students’ understanding of NGSS ideas, crosscutting concepts, and practices, irrespective of any specific curriculum. Development of the test items involved reviewing the relevant NGSS learning goals, including performance expectations, evidence statements, disciplinary core ideas, science practices, and related statements from the NRC Framework and concepts on energy transfer in the Science College Board Science Standards for College Success (The College Board, 2009). Research on student learning was examined to identify common misconceptions, which were then incorporated into the items as distractors. Items were pilot tested with 1300 students from across the U.S. in school districts that were not participating in the curriculum study and continued to be piloted with each implementation of the unit. The data from pilot testing were used to inform revisions to the items and the selection of the items for the final pre/posttest that was used to measure the effect of the curriculum on student learning gains. The test items assess students’ understanding of ideas about matter and energy changes during chemical reactions at both the substance level and the atomic/molecular level in both simple physical systems and complex biological systems, aspects of the crosscutting concept of systems and system models, and aspects of the science practices of analyzing data, developing and using models, and constructing explanations. Multiple-choice items, misconceptions assessed, and scoring rubrics for the constructed-response items are provided in this tab.

Assessment Items


Select a science topic to see a list of the key ideas for that topic and options for viewing items and additional information.

Life Science

Physical Science

Earth Science

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Nature of Science

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Project Funder


The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A150310 to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.