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Menu of Assessment Choices Assessment During the Unit Final Assessment Grading

Assessment Suggestions

If you are in the second year of teaching the same unit, congratulations! You know the excitement and engagement that students have working with these activities. For the assessment piece, dig a little deeper into the FOSS choices. Add a bit to what you used last year. Use more tips from your training and other teachers working with the activities.

For the first year, of any FOSS Activity implementation, we will be using some resources provided in each manual. The included pieces you select should provide the needed feedback that we must provide to students. Included are Formative Assessments (while students are learning) and Summative (or end of unit formal assessments). Foss Assessments focus on three concepts:


Content Knowledge


Building Explanations


Building Investigations

KSD is moving towards Standards Based Performance Report Cards, which some teachers and schools are currently piloting. Their grading will look different from traditional grading.  This change will move KSD towards its goal of creating an equitable system to assess all students.

Relax! Know that FOSS is rolling out over three years. Growth for you and your students is progressive, a process. Grades will be low on the FOSS assessments at the beginning. Let your students know that and be comfortable with that yourself. You and your building science rep will grow in knowledge over the three-year implementation. Your students will also become knowledgeable and more comfortable with FOSS, the scientific process, and the 5th grade Science WASL.  

FOSS has many ways to assess student learning. View these as a menu of choices during the first year. Choose to do only 1 or 2 assessments during each Investigation, but become familiar with all the various types and come to know what works for you and your students. (During the first year, assessments should be less to evaluate for grading purposes and more to gauge the successful communication of concepts.)

Formative Assessments can be:


Teacher observation


Student worksheets




Student Response sheets


Performance assessments or


Cooperative group assessments or self-assessments  

The Summative Assessment has three pieces:


Matching/multiple choice/fill-ins


Short response


Explaining processes/thinking

During the Unit:
A great tip  is to enlarge, post and make known to your students the general rubric located in the Assessment Duplication Masters section in each Teacher Guide. This general rubric shows student success with the investigations on a scale from 0 to 4. A 3 would mean the student meets the standard, a 4 is above and beyond.

Each activity has a rubric to use for assessment, located sequentially in the Assessment area of your teacher guide. Until students have knowledge of the scientific process, the FOSS way and vocabulary, these should be done with students. Students can view the rubrics as a class and do together at first, moving to partners, having teachers give feedback on their observations, etc., until the students get the ideas and language down.

Another great tip is to use the posters that incorporate WASL language with your students. These are distributed during district training or are available on the elementary science web page.

Completing a Unit:
Donít feel that students will have enough knowledge the first year to successfully complete the comprehensive final assessments. Feel free to give just the matching/multiple choice sections, or just the short response. Students need practice with the kits and response sheets before they will successful on extended response exams.

The Assessment area of your notebook contains a page on how to turn assessment scores into grades. It is located on the next to last page in each manual.

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