Mi-STAR Assessment

The Mi-STAR curriculum provides a complete assessment package that prepares students for success on Next Generation Science Standards-based assessments. Students’ knowledge, skills, and abilities relating to the three dimensions of the NGSS Performance Expectations (PEs) are assessed: 

In the Classroom  

The Mi-STAR curriculum is designed to give teachers a variety of opportunities to formally and informally assess what students know and can do. The combined use of the assessment tools described below will give teachers insight into student learning and progress in relation to the specific Performance Expectations associated with each Mi-STAR unit or lesson.

Formative Assessment - Teachers evaluate students’ knowledge, skills, and abilities as classroom instruction is taking place allowing teachers to adjust classroom instruction according to student needs. The Check Your Progress phase of each lesson helps teachers assess student mastery of key concepts and practices. Additional assessment opportunities include probing questions, observation of student performances and evaluation of student products.
Pre/Post Assessments - These formal, three-dimensional assessments are used before unit instruction begins, and again after
unit instruction is complete. They are designed to show growth in student knowledge, skills, and ability similar to NGSS based state-mandated assessments. 

Embedded Assessments - Each unit integrates Embedded Assessments into the Check Your Progress phase of selected lessons. These three-dimensional assessments require that students apply their learning to a new context. They include an answer key and grading rubric so that teachers may use them as a grading opportunity and/or as a formative assessment. 

Unit Challenge Student Products - As part of the Unit Challenge, students create products such as models, written content, claim-evidence-reasoning sheets, decision matrices, presentation slides, and unit summary tables, which integrate three-dimensional science knowledge and skills. Product checklists, answer keys, or grading rubrics are provided for some Unit Challenge Student Products and can be used to guide instruction and/or for student assessment.

Additional Student Products - Students produce a variety of additional products as they progress through each lesson. These products can be used by teachers and students to informally and formally assess student knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Comparing Traditional and 3D Assessment Questions 

Traditional One-Dimensional Assessment The following set of assessment questions are typically found on traditional pre and post-tests.The questions primarily focus on assessing one of the three NGSS dimensions - content knowledge.

Students consider the concept of species competition and how it relates to population size. 
To successfully answer these assessment questions students must understand the definition of and general rules about competition and population size as they engage in the following NGSS dimension:
Example One-Dimensional Assessment Questions
  1.  ________________________________ is a relationship between organisms that strive for the same limited resources.
  1. Species A and Species B have a competitive relationship in an ecosystem.  A decrease in Species A population would cause the following in Species B population:
    1. Species B population would decrease.
    2. Species B population would increase.
    3. Species B population would stay the same.
    4. Species B population and the Species A population are not related.
  1. What is the relationship between competition and population size?

Mi-STAR Three-Dimensional Assessment The next set of assessment questions is taken from a Mi-STAR unit pre/post-test. This assessment requires students to integrate all three of the NGSS dimensions - content knowledge, science practices and crosscutting concepts.

Students analyze and interpret data AND use evidence to construct explanations. Additionally, students consider the cause and effect of a phenomenon to make a prediction, all within the context of population and competition within an ecosystem. To successfully answer this set of questions, students must engage in the following three NGSS dimensions:
Example Three-Dimensional Assessment Questions
Below is a table that contains population data for the white-tailed deer, an organism that can be found in many Michigan ecosystems.
YearAvg.Deer per square mile
Data: MI DNR, Wildlife Div. Rprt 3512
  1. In the space provided above, graph the population data. Numbers have been placed on the axes to help you get started, but please be sure to add labels to the y-axis and provide a title OR caption for your figure.
  1. What is the overall pattern in population size that you observed?
  1. Another organism (such as elk) may have a competitive relationship with deer.
    1. Predict the effect that the pattern in deer populations you graphed would have on the population of a competing organism.
  1. Explain why you think this effect would occur.

Additional Information

Watch this video about to learn how Mi-STAR's three-dimensional assessments align with Next Generation Science Standards and Michigan Science Standards.Click above to learn more about Mi-STAR Assessment tools and resources. 

Copyright © 2024 Mi-STAR
Mi-STAR was founded in 2015 through generous support provided by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. Mi-STAR has also received substantial support from the National Science Foundation, the MiSTEM Advisory Council through the Michigan Department of Education, and Michigan Technological University.