Science Assessments

New Michigan K-12 Science
Standards & Assessments

The MSS represent a fundamental shift in science education and require a different approach to teaching science than has been done in the past. As a Board member you do not need to know all the standards, but it is useful to know the direction the school’s curriculum is going to teach the new standards as well as the benchmark assessments the school will implement to determine if students are on track to be proficient when tested by the State on the M-STEP.


Nov 2015: New standards implemented
May 2017: Limited Pilot Field Test administered
Spring 2018: Statewide MSS partial Pilot Test
Spring 2019: Statewide MSS full Field Test
Spring 2020: MSS Operational Assessment


The new Michigan Science Standards (MSS) are a set of student performance expectations that incorporate three main elements:

• Disciplinary Core Ideas (science specific concepts in the life, earth, and physical sciences),
• Science and Engineering Practices (the practices of engaging in scientific investigation to answer questions, and engineering design to solve problems),
• Cross-Cutting Concepts (conceptual ideas common to all areas of science).

The MSS emphasize that science is not just a series of isolated facts. This awareness enables students to view science more as an interrelated world of inquiry and phenomena rather than a static set of science disciplines.


• How is the curriculum changing in light of the new standards?
• What has the feedback been from staff and students?

A Deeper Dive

Some of the main ways that the MSS differs from previous standards are:
• The new framework specifies science and engineering practices that students should learn and use over the course of their schooling.
• The new framework is designed to bring greater coherence to the science education that students receive across grades K-12.
• The framework calls for a full integration of the practices of science with the ideas and concepts. That is, students should learn the ideas of science through actually doing science.

Assessment implications
Assessments are merely tools to determine if the students are learning the concepts. They can be formative (a range of formal and informal assessment procedures conducted by teachers during the learning process in order to modify teaching and learning activities to improve student understanding) or summative (cumulative evaluations used to measure student growth after instruction, which are generally given at the end of a course in order to determine whether long term learning goals have been met.)

Assessments fall into 3 broad categories:
1. Classroom Assessments (both formative and summative)
2. Interim Assessments – School level (summative)
3. State M-STEP Assessments (summative)