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Assessment items have been developed through various projects. You can browse them by the project through which they were developed or by associated NGSS statements across all projects.

The goal of the Assessing Students' Progress on the Energy Concept (ASPECt) project was to develop a set of three tests that can be used to diagnose what students in grades 4 through 12 know about energy and to monitor their progress along a learning progression. Support materials are provided to help users interpret students' scores to learn more about what energy ideas students do and do not know and what misconceptions they may have.

Getting Started

This section provides an introduction and background information for the Assessing Students' Progress on the Energy Concept (ASPECt) Project. It describes the development procedure used to develop the items and instruments as well as the learning goals to which the items are aligned.

File Description
Introduction to the ASPECt ProjectThis document provides a brief introduction to the development of the items, instruments, and support materials.
Description of the Energy Learning GoalsThis document describes in detail the energy ideas targeted by the assessment items. It also includes the boundary statements that clarify what students are not expected to know.

ASPECt Instruments

Below are PDF versions of the assessment instruments that can be used to monitor students' progress on the energy concept. See the Create and Take Test section to administer the computer-based versions. We recommend starting with the Basic test with elementary and middle school students or students who have had little to no instruction on energy and starting with the Intermediate test with high school students.

File Description
01 - Basic testThe easiest test that predominantly targets the Basic energy ideas described in the Getting Started section.
02 - Intermediate testA more difficult test that predominantly targets the Intermediate energy ideas described in the Getting Started section.
03 - Advanced testThe most difficult test that covers the Advanced energy ideas described in the Getting Started section. It is not recommended for elementary school students.

ASPECt Item Bank

This section includes all of the items developed as part of the ASPECt Project. They can be used to design additional tests of students' understanding of energy. Select a science topic to see a list of the key ideas for that topic and options for viewing items and additional information. Add items to "My Item Bank" and then use the "Create & Take Tests" feature to make and administer your own tests.

Life Science

    No items

Physical Science

Earth Science

    No items

Nature of Science

    No items

How to Score

Use these files to score the tests and convert the raw score to a scale score that can be used with the resources under How to Interpret Results.

File Description
Scoring InstructionsThis file explains the scoring process for the ASPECt-MC instruments.
ASPECt Answer KeysAnswer keys for the Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced tests.
Raw score to scale score tablesUse these tables to convert the raw score to a scale score.

How to Interpret Results

Use these files to interpret a student's scale score. Idea maps are visual depictions of the learning progressions for each energy idea. They can be used to determine where students are on the learning progression based on their scale score and what ideas they probably have a good understanding of and what ideas they probably do not have a good understanding of. Option Probability Curves plot the probability that students will select each answer choice as a function of their scale score. They can provide information about common student misconceptions and how the popularity of misconceptions changes as students learn more about energy.

File Description
Using Idea MapsInstructions on how to use the idea maps.
ASPECt Idea MapsWright maps for each energy idea.
Using Option Probability CurvesAn introduction on how to interpret option probability curves that show the proportion of students selecting each answer choice as a function of their overall level of energy understanding.
Option Probability CurvesOption probability curves for the items on the basic, intermediate, and advanced tests.

Related Publications

Below are publications that resulted from the ASPECt Project.

File Description
Energy Learning Progression PaperA research article on the development of a learning progression for energy published in JRST in 2018.
Developing Distractor-Driven MC ItemsA chapter in the book Teaching and Learning of Energy in K-12 Education about the development and use of distractor-driven multiple-choice items.
Comparability of Paper & Computer TestsPaper on the comparability study of the paper and computer based versions of the ASPECt tests presented at the NARST Annual International Conference in 2018.
Comparing Paper-&-Pencil and Computer TestsPaper about the preliminary comparability study of the paper and computer based versions of the ASPECt tests presented at the AERA Annual Meeting in 2017.
Rasch and Instrument DevelopmentPaper on the role of Rasch in the development of the ASPECt instruments presented at the AERA Annual Meeting in 2018.
Validating Instruments PaperPaper about validating the instruments presented at the NARST Annual International Conference in 2017.
Option Probability Curves PaperPaper about using option probability curves to learn more about students' misconceptions presented at the AERA Annual Meeting in 2016
Elementary Energy Ideas PaperPaper about the findings from the field test of the basic level items presented at the NARST Annual International Conference in 2015.

Technical Reports

This section contains more technical reports associated with the development of the items and instruments.

File Description
Why Rasch: Selection of a Quantitative ModelA brief report on why Rasch was selected as the quantitative model for the ASPECt project.
Appendix A: Winsteps Item TableThis table provides the Rasch data for each item in the item bank.
Item Difficulty Anchoring ReportThis document describes the process used to determine the anchored item difficulties.

How can the ASPECt resources be used?

The ASPECt-MC resources were developed at AAAS Project 2061. They are designed as open educational resources that are licensed as CC-BY-NC-SA-4.0. This license allows educators to use, modify, and reuse all of our resources to meet their needs. This license does require appropriate attribution, which means you must give credit to the author, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests that AAAS or BSCS Science Learning endorses you or your use. You may not use the materials for commercial purposes. If you modify or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original. When the resources include content that licensed in a different manner, it will be noted on the final page of the resource. © 2017 AAAS Project 2061.

Project Funder

The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A120138 to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.