NECAP Science Inquiry Task Field Test Information
The Maine Department of Education has agreed to recruit schools to serve as field testing sites to administer NECAP Science Inquiry Tasks in grades 5, 8 and 11. The field tests will occur between October 29 and November 20, 2012. In the NECAP Science assessment, inquiry tasks can either be “hands on” or a traditional paper and pencil test session. (“Hands on” means that students work in pairs to conduct an experiment and record their data before responding to test questions.) The tasks are always “hands on” at grade 5 and can either be a “hands on” or paper and pencil test at grade 8 depending on the task. The grade 11 inquiry tasks are always a paper and pencil test. For the field tests this fall, the grade 5 and grade 8 inquiry tasks are “hands on,” and the grade 11 task is a paper and pencil test.
Benefits of Participating
Students will be given the opportunity to engage with science content in a different way than traditional assessments and will be able to provide feedback about their experience. Students will work on the inquiry task in pairs at grades 5 and 8. Students in grade 11 will work independently. In addition, schools will be paid $5.00 per tested student. It is helpful to have more than one classroom within a school participate in the inquiry task field test.
Prior to Administration of the Inquiry Task Field Test
At grades 5 and 8, a representative from Measured Progress will attend the field test administration to record observations during testing. The representative will be available approximately 30 minutes immediately prior to the field test administration to meet with the designated test administrator to answer any questions he or she may have about administering the inquiry task field test. Note: The inquiry tasks and administrator instructions will be sent to schools approximately one week prior to the administration date so that the designated test administrator(s) has time to review the materials and read the instructions. Because the grade 11 task is a paper and pencil test, participating schools will receive test materials and instructions in the mail, with an agreed upon test window in which to administer the field test and return all the materials.
Amount of Time Needed for Administration
Grade 5 schools will need to set aside approximately 3 hours in a morning or an afternoon to complete the inquiry task field test and follow-up interviews.
At grades 5 and 8, the test administrator will need approximately 15 minutes to set up the inquiry tasks prior to the students beginning the test session. The inquiry task field test is designed to be completed in a minimum of approximately 75 minutes but schools should schedule 120 minutes to ensure that all students complete the test. The breakout of testing time for grade 5 and grade 8 students is shown below:
- Directions/Demonstrating Materials/Student Making Predictions - 15–30 minutes
- Directions/Students Performing the
Inquiry Task (in pairs)/Cleaning Up - 30–45 minutes
- Students Responding to Test
Questions (individually) - 30–45 minutes
At grade 11, no set up time is required for the inquiry task. The inquiry task at this grade is designed to be completed in 45–60 minutes, but schools should schedule 60 minutes for students to complete the test.
After Administration of the Inquiry Task Field Test
Grade 5 and grade 8 schools should plan on making students available for approximately 15 minutes following completion of the field test in order to speak with a representative from Measured Progress. This representative will solicit feedback from students as a group about their field test experience. In addition, the test administrator(s) will be expected to provide feedback about the administration of the inquiry tasks after testing. Questions for the administrator(s) focus on topics such as clarity of the inquiry task and instructions, level of task difficulty, level of student engagement, ease of inquiry task kit material set-up and use, format of booklet and graphics, and other general comments about the inquiry task. If time does not allow for teacher interviews, this follow-up can be done via email if necessary.
Grade 11 students will be given a short questionnaire to fill out after completing the task. This will be returned to Measured Progress with the other test materials. Administrators will also receive a questionnaire to complete, but administrator responses can be submitted to Measured Progress via email if preferred.
The TOTAL time commitment for participation in the grade 5 and grade 8 field tests will be approximately 1¾ to 2¼ hours of student time and between 2¼ to 3 hours for test administrator(s). The total time commitment for grade 11 will be approximately 1¼ hours of student time and 1½ hours for test administrators.
If you are interested in having your classroom(s) participate, please contact Kellie Beaulieu at Measured Progress at 800-431-8901 x2156, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.