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Program Overview

Framework Alignment

Assessment Approach

Professional Learning

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NGSS Assessment System

Developed in partnership with Stanford University’s SCALE team, Twig Science Next Gen provides a three-dimensional assessment system allowing teachers to evaluate student attainment of the NGSS Performance Expectations. Favoring performance tasks over rote memorization, the assessment strategies measure students’ knowledge and ability and include multiple measures of performance, such as written assignments, collaborative engineering-design challenges, and oral presentations.

The Twig Science NGSS assessment system includes diagnostic pre-assessments (known as Pre-Explorations), formative reflect activities, rich performance tasks, multiple choice assessments, and summative, performance-based benchmark assessments.

Pre-Explorations (All Grades)

Pre-Explorations assess students’ prior knowledge and identify misconceptions about module content. Students complete Pre-Explorations in their Twig Books, which employ grade-appropriate strategies to elicit understanding.


Pre-Explorations are quick to administer, and teachers are supported to track progression of student understanding, with suggestions for how to tailor instruction if misconceptions persist.

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Reflect Activities (All Grades)

Reflect activities are grade appropriate and vary in approach. Short and easy to implement, they give teachers a quick win at the end of a lesson—and a talking point at the start of the next. Linked to lesson objectives and the standards, reflect activities include KLEW charts, short written reflections, annotated sketches, peer-to-peer discussions, and graphic checklists, offering students the chance to self-reflect on their own growing understanding of each Driving Question and Module Phenomenon.


Performance Tasks (All Grades)

Carefully designed to captivate students’ imagination and deliver data that teachers can use to tailor instruction, Twig Science Performance Tasks connect classroom experiences to real-world problems and reflect how engineers and scientists behave in the field. Performance Tasks allow students to apply the CCCs and SEPs, and their knowledge of DCIs, to demonstrate growing mastery of Performance Expectations and understanding of each Module Phenomenon. They support students to meet and exceed NGSS standards.

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Benchmark Assessments (Grades 3–6)

Designed to be taken individually at the end of each Driving Question, these summative assessments provide a reliable and fair measure of students' progress along with integrating the three dimensions of the PEs. They include open-ended problems that challenge students to apply learning to new contexts—requiring analysis and reasoning rather than merely rote memorization.


Varying in length from 30 minutes to several lessons, longer assessments include formatively assessed group work before students embark on individual assignments.

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Multiple-Choice Assessments (All Grades)

Twig Science Next Gen multiple choice assessments are a summative tool intended to be assigned at the end of a module. They can be used to assess student understanding of concepts and identify areas of weakness.


Each question is correlated to an NGSS standard and a Depth of Knowledge level. Assessments are multidimensional in nature, and they reflect the multiple choice items in state science tests.

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