The New Meridian Science Exchange, which provides states with simple and cost-effective access to high-quality assessment items aligned to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), is launching this month.

The exchange allows states flexible options such as drawing from a bank of test items to create NGSS-aligned assessments or contributing items to the bank to produce licensing revenue. The result is a safe and effective system that dramatically expedites modern science assessment.

“The Science Exchange allows states to complete their science education systems,” said Chris Lazzaro, Director of Science at New Meridian. “Modern science assessment has been the missing piece, and the exchange provides a ready solution. Teachers get an authentic measure of classroom learning. States get an accurate picture of what is working and where to direct support.”

The New Meridian Science Exchange also provides contributing states with expertise, from a comprehensive (and no-cost) item analysis report that helps states understand their science assessment content to a team of science and assessment experts to help states align their testing programs with next generation standards.

“Science education is vital, and so is meaningful science assessment,” said Arthur VanderVeen, CEO of New Meridian. “Our goal is to provide states with high-quality science assessment content that supports educators’ focus on inquiry, investigation, and the application of science and engineering practices. That’s hard for states to do on their own. Now, by drawing on the collective expertise of national experts and a shared bank of content, no state has to navigate these challenges alone.”

The Value of 3D Science Learning

In a post-pandemic world in which science is counted upon to save lives both in America and worldwide, science education is gaining more attention.

“Science is also at the heart of America’s ability to continue innovating, leading, and creating jobs for the future,” said a report by NextGenScience, a team at WestEd that promotes and supports the latest standards. “That’s why all students—regardless of whether they pursue college or STEM careers—should have access to a high-quality K-12 science education.”

Next Generation Science Standards, created by a consortium of states, ensure that quality science education is delivered. They are based on what is known as three-dimensional learning, or simply 3D learning. This refers to the three educational pillars that underpin the standards:

Science and Engineering Practices. These are the things that scientists and engineers do to solve real-word problems, activities such as asking questions, analyzing data and creating models.

— Crosscutting Concepts. These are ideas that apply across all of science, such as the relationships between cause and effect, structure and function or matter and energy.

— Disciplinary Core Ideas. These are scientific facts learned in all branches of science.

Forty-four states representing 71 percent of U.S. students have education standards influenced by the Framework for K-12 Science Education or have adopted Next Generation Science Standards. Many states have spent years bringing their standards into alignment, developing curricula and training teachers.

Yet assessments that measure 3D learning and knowledge of Next Generation standards remain a sticking point. They are difficult, time consuming and costly to produce. Millions of students[2]  are still not tested on 3D science learning, and it is easy to see why.

A single high-quality, NGSS-aligned science performance task might cost anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000 to develop[GJ3] . It takes 18 months to create a single test item, and then another six months to field test it. Faced with such a challenge, many states are simply unable to go it alone. Partnerships are vital.

“The New Meridian Science Exchange gives you a partner who can help build high-quality assessments quickly, effectively and with minimal risk,” Lazzaro said.

The Value of 3D Science Assessments

The New Meridian Science Exchange is designed to help states create three-dimensional science assessments with unparalleled depth and scope.

All items in the bank, whether contributed by states or created by New Meridian, are reviewed for fairness, bias, sensitivity, multi-dimensional performance, cognitive complexity and technical quality. All meet federal requirements and provide the highest quality data to measure student knowledge.

Sharing items is risk free because the item bank is monitored using cutting-edge security to ensure that all access is authorized. Items are operationally ready and New Meridian makes participation simple, from transferring content to tracking royalties.

“We are providing a flexible solution for states that value measuring the true depth of science learning but are constrained by budgets and resources,” VanderVeen said. “The New Meridian Science Exchange allows states to augment their work in science assessment in partnership with other states, lowering costs and expediting the time to test.”

As Lazzaro put it, “Our goal is not just to deliver quality assessment. Our goal is to deliver peace of mind.”

To learn more about the New Meridian Science Exchange, contact Matt Lisk at mlisk@newmeridiancorp.org.

 
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