Research & Development

Assessing Students’ Progress on the Energy Concept Using Three-Dimensional Items (ASPECt-3D) -  With Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) calling for instruction that fosters an integrated understanding of (1) science and engineering practices, (2) crosscutting concepts, and (3) disciplinary core ideas, there is a critical need for assessments that can measure students’ ability to use these three dimensions together to make sense of energy-related phenomena. This project is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and builds on a currently funded IES project in which Project 2061 is developing three vertically-equated instruments to assess students’ progress on the energy concept. This new project expands on the earlier work by developing assessment clusters made up of both multiple-choice and constructed/open-ended response items that can be used to measure growth in students’ understanding of practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas from grades 4 through 12.  Contact: Cari Herrmann Abell, Principal Investigator, cabell@aaas.org 

Building Students’ Understanding of Energy in High School Biology - With a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, Project 2061 is partnering with the Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah to design a multimedia six-week unit for high school biology. The unit will support the learning goals in Next Generation Science Standards while focusing on important but often difficult core ideas and crosscutting concepts about energy in non-living and living systems. In addition, the unit will engage students in essential science practices such as analyzing data, developing and using models, and constructing their own explanations of energy-related phenomena. Contact: Jo Ellen Roseman, Principal Investigator, jroseman@aaas.org

Improving Science Assessment for English Learners (ELs) – In a study funded by the National Science Foundation, researchers at AAAS Project 2061 and WestEd are examining a large set of science assessment items to identify linguistic factors that may account for EL students’ underperformance on tests when compared to non-EL students and propose strategies for improving the items. Findings from the study will be particularly timely, given the need for new assessments that are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and for more effective measures of what students know regardless of their English language status. Contact: George DeBoer, Principal Investigator, gdeboer@aaas.org

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Measuring Students’ Understanding of Energy - Energy issues are central to modern life, so all students need to develop a strong understanding of basic energy concepts. A first step is finding out what they already know, how their understanding builds over time, and what conceptual difficulties they are having and why. With a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Project 2061 is designing assessment instruments to evaluate students’ energy knowledge across a range of topics at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Contact: Cari Herrmann-Abell, Principal Investigator, cabell@aaas.org

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New Tools for Teaching Evolution – Working with the Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah, Project 2061 is developing an innovative curriculum unit and assessments to help high schoolers understand core ideas about evolution through mathematical reasoning and data analysis. Funding for this work is provided by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Contact:  Jo Ellen Roseman, Principal Investigator, jroseman@aaas.org