• Delaware Next Generation Science Assessment

    Assessments are an integral part of the instructional cycle and fulfill several purposes for educators, students, parents, policy makers, and community members. Assessments administered at the state, district/charter, and school levels combine to form a system of assessments with the goal of supporting student growth.

    Delaware’s state science assessment – or test – helps students, families and teachers understand each student’s strengths and areas for growth on the state’s standards for science. The state’s standards for science outline what students should learn in each grade. Each state sets its own standards. In 2013, Delaware adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as its state science standards. The goal of NGSS is to make certain all students leave Delaware schools able to apply their scientific knowledge to the real-world.

    The state’s science test is just one measure for understanding how a student is progressing in science. Other measures include the student’s grades, classroom exams, district-wide tests, and more. In Delaware schools, much of the work around transitioning to NGSS and developing the state’s revised science assessment has been led by Delaware's Science Coalition (link) and Delaware’s NextGen teachers (link).

    Please Note: Delaware is currently revising its yearly science test to match the state’s NGSS standards. The information on this page describes Delaware’s revised science test, which will be given to students starting in the 2018-19 school year. Timeline

    General Overview

    • Students tested: Students in grades 5, 8 and high school biology

      Alternate options:

    • Test date: Districts can choose to give between March 16 and May 22, 2020
    • Test Specifications: the DeSSA Science Assessment blueprint is composed of item clusters and standalone (or discrete) items. These general guidelines provide descriptions of common elements of the summative assessments.
    • Achievement Level Descriptors (ALDs): Achievement Level Descriptors describe a student’s degree of success on an assessment (i.e. well below standard, below standard, on standard, beyond standard).  The Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) created ALDs for science to assist with the standard-setting process for its DeSSA Science Assessment.  ALDs can assist with score interpretation on student reports and assist teachers with understanding expectations for the progression of student learning and performance at each level of achievement during and after instruction.  
    • State/district results: 2017 and prior-year data
    • Test provider: Pearson Assessments and WestEd partnership
    • Test type: Students apply their knowledge of science - in writing or by performing a task - to grade-level appropriate situations in order to solve unique, real-life problems. Sample test items
    • In-class supports/resources:
      • End-of-unit tests

        Teachers have the option to use throughout the year. Identifies student strengths and areas for improvement. Given after a unit of science instruction, which is a section of science covering specific content. Can be used as a course grade.

      • Course quizzes

        Teachers have the option to use throughout the year. Provides information on student learning in real time. Short and given more often than end-of-unit test.

    • Science Balanced Assessment System (BAS) Model


    Family and Educator Resources

    • Delaware Science Curriculum

      Provides families and educators with information and resources about in-class NGSS instruction. Maintained by the Delaware Department of Education Standards and Instruction workgroup.

    • Sample Delaware science test items

      Sample NGSS-aligned assessments for use in classrooms. Mirror the types of tasks that will be presented on Delaware's state science test.

    • Three Dimensional Science Assessment Resources

      Self-guided resources to help teachers understand the differences between past assessment strategies and NGSS expectations, including Delaware’s revised state test.

    • STEM Gauge by Measured Progress

      Provides a free topic-based item set and teacher guide sampler.

    • Next Generation Science Assessment (NGSA) Task Portal

      Starting points for assessment prompts.

    • NAEP: Science Resources

      Provides sample interactive tasks.

    • Manual: Seeing Students Learn Science

      Great resource for Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Users can print the book for free or purchase a bound copy for $39.95.

    • Accessibility Guidelines

      Contains the accessibility features policies and procedures for the following assessments: English language arts (ELA)/literacy and mathematics, science and social Studies, end-of-course assessments (US History, Algebra II and Integrated Math III) and the alternate assessment (Alt-1) for reading, mathematics, science, and social Studies. The accessibility guidelines are now housed in schoology. Contact Michelle Jackson for the access code.

Last Modified on June 17, 2022