The list of state science assessments administered in the elementary and middle grades indicate that in 2017-18 almost all the states require a different science assessment instrument. For example, Arkansas’s science assessment is the ACT Aspire, Georgia has its Milestones Assessment System, Kentucky administered the Kentucky Academic Standards Science Assessment, Rhode Island used the RI NGSA and Vermont used the Vermont Science Assessment.

State-Administered Science Assessments, Grades 3–8, Intended Uses 2017-18 

The Intended Uses for state science assessments are also reported in the same table:

  • School accountability. Science assessments were included in school accountability reporting in 33 states for 2017-18. States have included science assessments in their school report card indicators with many responding to the increased use of science as an additional academic indicator under federal accountability requirements.
  • Teacher accountability was an intended use identified in 15 states during 2017-18. That is, the student assessment data were applied as part of the state model for evaluating teacher performance, usually by measuring the growth of student test scores across the grades.
  • Curriculum and instruction. SEA staff at 26 states report that elementary and middle grades science assessments are intended to be used to improve curriculum and instruction.
  • The table in the link above also shows the grades when science is assessed by state. In most states, science is assessed at one elementary and one middle grade level (such as grade 4 and 7, or grade 5 and 8), while three states assessed science at each of the grades 3 through 8 and Utah assesses science grades 4 through 8, South Carolina in grades 4, 6 and 8 and New Hampshire at grades 3,5 and 8.

Intended Uses with curriculum and instruction. Following are specific examples of intended uses of science assessments in curriculum and instruction. Responses from state education specialists regarding examples of how data are used locally focus mainly on informing decisions about curriculum and instruction and aligning instruction to standards.

  • School districts use the results of the science assessment to inform decisions and policies about curriculum, instruction and professional development.
  • Schools and districts use results from the assessment to help determine strengths and weaknesses in instruction and curriculum at the local and state level.
  • Released items with related statistics can be used to inform instruction.
  • Summative assessment results were utilized by educators to alter instructional practices.
  • Used to revise curriculum and adjust classroom instruction.
  • Inform teacher's curriculum alignment to state standards.
  • Systems monitoring and improvement.
  • Strand sub-scores can provide finer-grained information for local use, while scale scores are more reliable.