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Project 2061 Workshop: Developing and Using Assessments Aligned to Science Learning Goals

, Washington, DC

Drawing on more than a decade of research and development focused on science assessment, Project 2061 offers this workshop to share its experience and resources with teachers, researchers, and assessment specialists.

The three-day workshop introduces Project 2061’s approach to science assessment and its criteria and procedures for developing effective items that are carefully aligned to science ideas. Participants learn about tools and resources that will help them:

  • Clarify the science ideas that are to be tested and identify common student misconceptions.
  • Develop specifications for writing assessment items, including the use of plausible, but incorrect, answer choices to provide more insight into students’ thinking, expecially their misconceptions.
  • Align items to specific science ideas using Project 2061’s “necessity” and “sufficiency” criteria.
  • Consider how unfamiliar vocabulary, test-wiseness, or other factors can affect the accuracy of an item as a measure of what students know.
  • Understand and use statistical analyses of student test data to diagnose learning difficulties and improve test items.
  • Learn new techniques for collecting and using students’ feedback when developing test items.
  • Review Project 2061’s protocols for pilot and field testing items and how to adapt them for your own needs.
  • Access Project 2061’s online bank of test items and other assessment resources.

The workshop is both interactive and practical, providing many opportunities to apply what is being learned to the real-world challenges of science assessment.

Workshop participants will receive a Certificate of Completion from AAAS Project 2061.

Who should attend?

Educators involved in the assessment of student learning in science, including middle and high school science teachers, science specialists, assessment directors and coordinators in states and school districts, assessment and curriculum developers, university science education faculty, education researchers, and informal science educators.

Fees are listed below.

  Early-Bird* Regular
Teams $394/person $420/person
Individuals $446 $472

* To qualify for the Early-Bird discount, registrations must be received four weeks prior to the first day of the workshop.

If you have any questions, please contact 202-326-6628 or at

About the workshop leader

Cari F. Herrmann Abell, Ph.D., joined AAAS Project 2061 in 2005 as a postdoctoral fellow for the Center for Curriculum Materials in Science and is currently a senior research associate contributing to the development of curriculum and assessment resources aligned to K–12 science learning goals. Her current work focuses on topics in the physical sciences, and she is principal investigator on a test development project funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. In addition to presenting her work at scholarly and professional conferences, Herrmann Abell also leads workshops on the item development process for researchers and classroom teachers, including, for example, those in Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, the American Chemical Society, the University of Michigan, and the Shanghai Association for Science and Technology. As a reviewer for the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress, Herrmann Abell critiqued physical science and life science assessment items for grades 4, 8, and 12. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her B.S. in chemistry and mathematics from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA.

Download Assessment Workshop agenda.

About us
Project 2061 is a long-term initiative of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to help all Americans become literate in science, mathematics, and technology. To achieve that goal, Project 2061 conducts research and develops tools and services that educators, researchers, and policymakers can use to make critical and lasting improvements in the nation’s education system.

Through the generosity of AAAS donors, we are pleased to be able to offer a limited number of complimentary workshop registrations through special scholarships supported by the AAAS Flexible Action Fund program.

Awardees will be selected based on their level of engagement in science and/or mathematics education at the local, state, national, or international levels; their need for financial support; and their potential for sharing with others the knowledge gained at the workshop. The selection committee will also seek participants from diverse backgrounds and geographic areas. See scholarship application deadlines.


Event Contact

Barbara Goldstein

Program Associate