High School Science  

The online reporting on high school assessment policies for all states and DC, as of 2017-18, distinguishes states that require a comprehensive assessment, i.e., testing more than one science content area vs. states that require end-of-course (EOC) science assessments. Information is reported on examples of assessments uses for improving curriculum and instruction and on state policies for re-taking high school assessments. The table linked below provides information on the types of assessments states administer and three key uses of assessments: for teacher accountability, school accountability and as a requirement for graduation (see the table linked below).  When we compare the high school assessments administered across the states, six states administer both science EOC assessments and a comprehensive high school science assessment. 

State-administered Science EOC and Comprehensive High School Assessments

Below are highlights about state End-Of-Course (EOC) HS science assessments and their intended uses (see the two tables linked below).  

  • Number of states. End-of-course (EOC) High School assessments are administered statewide in 22 states, with 18 states testing courses in Biology 1,   7 in chemistry, 3 in earth science, 3 in physics and 8 states testing in two or more courses, e.g., Biology, Chemistry and Earth Science.
  • Informing curriculum and instruction. State Education Agencies from 15 states report that EOC science assessments are intended to be used to inform curriculum and instruction.
  • College and career readiness. State Education Agencies from 7 states report that EOC science assessments are intended to be used to support college and/or career readiness.
  • Accountability. The EOC science assessments are required for school accountability in 19 states providing these assessments. Teacher accountability is an intended use in 11 states using EOC assessments.
  • High School graduation. Nine states with EOC high school assessments require the assessments for high school graduation.
  • Re-takes. Most states have a policy that allows retaking exams under certain conditions (three states do not allow retakes).

State-administered HS End Of Course (EOC) Science Assessments, Intended Uses, 2017-18 

End Of Course (EOC) Science Assessments Examples of Policy on Re-takes, 2017-18 


Comprehensive  Assessments.

Below are highlights about state comprehensive HS science assessments and their intended uses (see the two tables linked below). 

  • Number of states. Overall 33 states reported using Comprehensive HS Assessments. State comprehensive high school science assessments are administered at grade 11 in 26 states; at grade 10 in 10 states; in grade 9 in 4 states; and grade 12 in two states. 
  • Informing curriculum and instruction. State Education Agencies from 16 states report that comprehensive science assessments are intended to be used to inform curriculum and instruction.
  • College and Career Readiness: State Education Agencies from 14 states report that comprehensive science assessments are intended to be used to support college and/or career readiness.  
  • Accountability. In 19 states the comprehensive science assessment is used for school accountability. Teacher accountability is an intended use in five states with comprehensive HS science assessments.
  • High School graduation. One state requires students to take a comprehensive science assessment for high school graduation (Texas).
  • Types of assessments. Most states used either the ACT (11 states) or a state-specific assessment instrument as their comprehensive HS science assessments.

State-administered Science Assessments, High School Comprehensive, Intended Uses, 2017-18 

High School Comprehensive Science Assessments, Intended Uses