Sensemaking in NGSS Assessments


Conclusion Video

Congratulations on completing this course on Sensemaking in NGSS Assessments!

Conclusion Steps:

1. Conclusion Video – WATCH the 1 min Conclusion Video below. (For a pdf version of the video with speaker notes, see this file)

2. Additional Resources – Feel free to EXPLORE additional resources by clicking on the button below.

3. Exit Survey – To receive your certificate of course completion, SUBMIT the Exit Survey below.

Additional Resources & FAQs

I want to encourage more sensemaking with my students, but where should I start?

Out of all 3 criteria for sensemaking introduced in this course (phenomena, 3 dimensions, and grappling with uncertainty), we recommend starting with phenomena. Introducing your students to real-world situations of the topics you are discussing in class not only increases relevancy and engagement, but starts building students to transfer content, practices, and concepts to new situations. Ensuring students are comfortable with exploring new situations that have not yet been directly taught through instruction (with curiosity and a growth mindset) is foundational to sensemaking. In the Additional Resources above, you will find resources to find phenomena based on grade level and standard.

Can I use the same phenomena in my assessments that I use in instruction?

It depends on the assessment. If you are assessing students summatively, at the end of a learning progression/unit, sensemaking best practice is to give students an entirely new phenomenon that has not been previously introduced in class. This ensures a fully novel experience for students to engage in sensemaking and transfer the content, practices, and concepts they build during instruction independently to a new situation. This is the goal of K-12 science education: that students can use what they experienced in their education to better understand the world around them as scientists. However, if you are giving students a formative assessment, in the middle of the learning progression/unit, using the same phenomenon for your assessment as you’re using in instruction can actually be a great scaffold. Just keep in mind what you’re really assessing in those types of assessments: Are you seeing independent mastery of a practice or concept, or are students repeating back to you what you’ve already introduced to them?

Ensuring my students to master all 3 Dimensions of the NGSS feels overwhelming. What is one small shift I can make?

Yes! Feeling comfortable and confident with all 3 Dimensions is a long journey, for both students AND teachers! We recommend starting out with 2-Dimensional experiences and questions. To more from content-only instruction and assessment towards the 3 Dimensions, we recommend adding the Science and Engineering Practice (SEP) OR the Crosscutting Concept (CCC) to the experience or assessment. We highly recommend STEM Teaching Tool’s SEP Sentence Stems and CCC Sentence Stems to start weaving one of these dimensions into your classroom. For more information about 2-Dimensional questions, check out this InnerOrbit Video.

I still don’t see the purpose in focusing on sensemaking in my instruction. What’s the point of all this?

We’re glad you asked. We don’t think we could say it better than this.

Exit Survey

Thank you for participating in this InnerOrbit NGSS Course!

Please complete the Exit Survey below to share your feedback and to get a certificate of completion for PD credits.

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