Next year, Illinois students in 5th, 8th, and 10th grades will take an online exam aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards.
So far, 15 states and the District of Columbia have officially adopted the new science standards, which emphasize scientific inquiry, engineering design, and application. Illinois became an adopter in March 2014.
There are currently no final, operational standardized assessments aligned to the NGSS, though some pilot tests are underway. Illinois officials say that the computer-based Illinois State Science Assessment will be ready by the spring.
At the end of the most recent school year, Illinois did not administer standardized science assessments because officials said the current tests were outdated. The state board of education subsequently received a warning from the U.S. Department of Education that it was not in compliance with federal law, which requires that students receive science testing at least once during grades 3 through 5, 6 through 9, and 10 through 12.
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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.