Achievement Level Definitions, Science High School

Science achievement level definitions describe the quality of a student’s responses on state-level alternate assessments in relation to the alternate science standards. These definitions serve as the foundation for achievement level definitions for the alternate grade level expectations in science.

Skills associated with these achievement level definitions may include some of the following:

  • Sorting objects into groups using physical properties
  • Describing physical properties of objects and materials
  • Using observable characteristics to describe physical changes
  • Identifying chemical and physical changes
  • Identifying organisms that are similar and different based on external features
  • Describing how plants and/or animals look
  • Describing ways in which the needs of a plant and/or animal are met by its environment
  • Sorting living things based on external features
  • Matching organisms to the environment in which they live
  • Identifying organisms that once lived on Earth but no longer exist
  • Identifying examples of fossils and/or explaining how fossils are used to help us understand the past

Appropriate performance at the high school level is clarified by the level of complexity within the standard.

Proficient with Distinction
The student’s performance demonstrates an understanding of essential concepts in science, including the ability to make connections among central ideas. The student’s response demonstrates the ability to utilize information and solve problems and explain central concepts with clarity and accuracy.

Proficient
The student’s performance demonstrates a general understanding of essential concepts in science and connections among central ideas. The student’s response demonstrates the ability to utilize information and solve problems and explain central concepts. Student work may contain minor errors.

Partially Proficient
The student’s performance demonstrates incomplete understanding of essential concepts in science and inconsistent connections among central ideas. The student’s response demonstrates some ability to utilize information and solve problems. The quality of the responses is inconsistent. Explanation of concepts may be incomplete or unclear.

Substantially Below Proficient
The student’s performance demonstrates limited understanding of essential concepts in science and infrequent or inaccurate connections among central ideas. The student’s responses demonstrate minimal ability to solve problems. Explanations are illogical, incomplete or missing. There are many inaccuracies.