New Meridian Science Director Chris Lazzaro will speak at the Education Week virtual K-12 Essentials Forum, Teaching Science Today: Challenges and Solutions on January 19.

In a session titled “Harnessing the Power of NGSS-Aligned Science Assessment to Create the STEM Leaders of Tomorrow,” Lazzaro will explain how assessment of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) plays an important role in the science education system developing around the standards. Lazzaro will discuss how NGSS-aligned assessments need to evolve to model the dimensions contained in the standards and provide an accurate gauge of science learning.

High-quality assessment aligned to Next Generation Science Standards must take its place alongside changes to curriculum and professional development as part of a complete and balanced system. We are educating the scientists and engineers of tomorrow. In today’s world, that has never been more important. Assessment must play a role.

Chris Lazzaro, Ph.D., Director of Science Programs at New Meridian

A New Approach to Science Assessment

Lazzaro, who holds a Ph.D. in science and education policy, has worked in science education for almost two decades, starting as a high school physics teacher in New York City. He later spent more than a decade at the College Board, where he worked on projects that included redesigning the AP Science exam and creating the Science College Board Standards for College Success.

At New Meridian, Lazzaro and his team focus on creating innovative science assessment products.

They launched the New Meridian Science Exchange, which provides states with simple and cost-effective access to high-quality assessment items aligned to NGSS. 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. The team also developed the Framework for Quality Review of NGSS Science Assessment Items to help states review and evaluate test items.

Speaking at the National Science Teaching Association’s Engage conference last year, Lazzaro said that improving assessment with an eye toward informing classroom instruction is vital, both to support teachers and to advance the standards.

“I think of the standards as the backbone,” he said. “Off of that backbone, we have professional development, we have curriculum and we have assessments. They all are trying to align back to the standards. If you take one piece of that away, the whole stool begins to fall over. We need strong curriculum in the classroom for students to succeed. We need strong professional development to support teachers so they can implement good curriculum. And we need to be able to measure student outcomes to know what we are doing is the right thing.”

The Education Week virtual event is free to attend.

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