In June of 2016, DRC CTB released item specifications documents for each of the five tests on the TASC exam. The documents define the content and format of the test for item writers, but they also give teachers more specific information about what is being tested than we have had before. In a July 11th webinar hosted by the CUNY Adult Literacy/HSE Program, panelists discussed a standard in life science in order to explore how the item specifications work. Goals of the webinar included increasing understanding of the item specifications documents and, specifically, the content standard on cellular division and differentiation (p. 51), while exploring ideas on teaching these science topics.
Kate Brandt, Mark Trushkowsky and I were joined by Deedra Arvin, Test Development Program Manager at Data Recognition Corporation and Tim Jones, Associate for Instructional Services at The New York State Education Department, who talked through the content standards.
Resources include a recording of the webinar, the PowerPoint used in the presentation and a link to a Google Doc where teachers will be compiling their ideas for teaching cell division:
- Recording of TASC Science Item Specifications webinar (YouTube): Unfortunately, the recording of the webinar does not include the chat, but the transcript includes great discussion and teaching ideas.
- TASC Science Item Specifications Slides – July 11, 2016 (PowerPoint): The PowerPoint is included here in case you want to download and modify it for use with other teachers or students, possibly.
- Google Doc with ideas for teaching LS1-4 (cell division and differentiation) from the Item Specs: You can read teachers’ ideas for presenting this content and add your own ideas. If this way of crowdsourcing ideas works, CUNY will create similar documents for other standards in the item specifications.
TASC Item Specifications http://www.acces.nysed.gov/hse/tasc-test-and-item-specifications
TASC Blueprints http://www.tasctest.com/resources.html
Next Generation Science Standards http://www.nextgenscience.org
A Framework for K-12 Science Education http://www.nap.edu/read/13165
Past Regents Examinations http://www.nysedregents.org