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Middle Level Edition

High School Edition

Every month, Science Class features curriculum topics tailored to match the focus of NSTA's K–12 journals. In this issue, the elementary edition will focus on Alternative Assessment. Each theme will be supported by a range of NSTA-approved teaching resources: news stories, Internet "SciLinks®," books, and NSTA journal articles. If you would like to view the middle level or high school editions, please click on the appropriate link in the menu bar.

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Elementary science educators are in the middle of the continuing debate surrounding standardized tests. President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act requires all school systems to have an assessment plan for students in grades 3-8 by the 2005-2006 school year. For most states, that will mean a series of standardized tests aligned to each state's curriculum. Some education experts, however, note that alternative assessments have a greater usefulness for evaluating students and that the contentious atmosphere around standardized testing has given rise to a need for such exams.

Alternative assessment strategies can provide additional and more comfortable methods for students to demonstrate what they have learned. In this issue of Science Class, you will find various news and journal articles, books, and websites that discuss the problems with standardized tests and offer resources on alternative assessments. Read on and see what new methods you can learn to assess your students.

Alternative Assessment in the News

Article summaries provided by the NSTA WebNews Service.

Click here to read the latest:


Alternative Assessment on the Net

SciLinks® is a web-based service from NSTA that provides online content chosen for selected keywords. This month's SciLink keyword is:

Assessment: http://www.scilinks.org/retrieve_outside.asp?sl=9263562110551033

Alternative Assessment in NSTA Journal Articles

The following journal articles provide you with ideas for classroom lessons and activities related to alternative assessment.

From this month's Science & Children: http://www.nsta.org/elementaryschool

From the Science & Children archives:: http://science.nsta.org/enewsletter/2003-05/elementary.htm

Books on Alternative Assessment

Check out these titles from NSTA Recommends:


Alternative Assessment in May's Science & Children

This month's Teaching Through Trade Books department focuses on "Weather Watchers." Making actual weather observations can be a great connection to reading about clouds and weather. Links to cloud pictures as well as
directions for making a simple barometer and wind vane are at http://www.nsta.org/main/news/stories/science_and_children.php?category_ID=86&news_story_ID=48248.

Sometimes teachers can't avoid paper-and-pencil tests. The online version of "Designing Assessment" includes tips for writing better, clearer test questions. http://www.nsta.org/main/news/stories/science_and_children.php?category_ID=86&news_story_ID=48253.

Professional Development

The Eisenhower National Clearinghouse provides a good introduction to professional development with an article by Susan Loucks-Horsley. Click here to learn more and to read about the five principles of professional development.


NSTA Opportunities

Write for NSTA's Journals

NSTA needs your expertise. To find out how, visit:

Science & Children (Grades PreK–5) http://science.nsta.org/enewsletter/2003-05/sc.htm

Meet Author Mia Posada!

The award-winning author of Ladybugs: Red, Fiery, and Bright and Dandelions: Stars in the Grass takes your questions throughout the month of May.

Click here to join the discussion:


Next Month's Theme:

Safety in the Science Classroom

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