Author Archives: Stephen Pruitt

Seeking a New Way to Assess Science at All Levels

The word assessment can prompt feelings of dread, mistrust, or outright hate in many teachers. That’s distressing, as quality instruction includes quality assessment. Unfortunately, we have allowed assessment to become the “tail that wags the dog.” The development of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was a tremendous step forward in attempting to change that […]

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Kentucky’s Systems Approach to Assessing Three-Dimensional Standards

One thing is clear about our multi-dimensional standards: They require a complex and thoughtful approach to assessment. No single, conventional, summative test can be expected to provide reliable data sufficient enough to satisfy the demands of all possible audiences. To say a student truly understands all dimensions of a multi-year set of Performance Expectations (PEs) […]

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Focusing on Instruction to Improve My School

How do you envision science education in your classroom? Your school? Your district? In hectic life of a modern educator, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the initiatives, expectations, and pressures of our profession. As a first-year high school administrator, I admit I experienced a point last year when I was simply surviving—not managing adequately, […]

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Collaborating to Improve Performance Expectations

Jessica Tetreault and I were the only two middle school teachers at a recent conference, so we were paired to create a common performance assessment that we could both use with our students in the coming months. She volunteered to share an assessment on gravity that her students recently completed, as I was about to […]

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Gravitational Interactions and 3-D Learning in Middle School

I recently embarked on a journey with K–8 teachers in Vermont to learn how to be intentional about planning for three-dimensional (3-D) learning in the classroom. To begin our journey, we determined which NGSS performance expectations would be the focus of our instructional sequence. For each performance expectation, we identified the related Disciplinary Core Ideas […]

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It’s Elementary: Investigating Student Work

Teachers wear many hats in the classroom. We are doctors, therapists, IT technicians, politicians, and entertainers, but the one hat we wear that is essential for student learning is the detective’s hat. As detectives, we gather and analyze evidence to help us understand what our students know and don’t know and what misconceptions they may […]

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Seeing Students Learn Science

It is truly an exciting time in science education. Science educators across the country are adapting to a new vision of how students learn science guided by the Framework for K–12 Science Education (Framework). As a result, science instruction is changing to better tap into students’ natural curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world […]

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Q&A on Unpacking Three-Dimensional Standards

We’ve recently heard discussions from colleagues about the need to “unpack” the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and how to do it. The term unpacking means a lot of things to lots of people so we thought we’d share our ideas about what it means and, specifically, what it means for science standards. Q.1 What is […]

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Ed News Roundup: Two NSTA Press Books to be Read from Space

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This week in education news, two Ohio-based NSTA Press authors will have children’s books read from space station; getting students excited about STEM; interest in STEM may be ‘contagious’ in high school; number of minorities, women taking CS is skyrocketing thanks to STEM collaborations; how the Girl Scouts’ new CEO is using her time at […]

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How NGSS and CCSS for ELA/Literacy Address Argument

In the summer of 2015, I observed an elementary science teacher from an NGSS-adopted state who made a presentation to her cohort of close to 100 K–12 science teacher leaders and administrators from schools, districts, and the state. After presenting her instruction on a physical science unit with 2nd-grade students, she gave her students the […]

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