PIMSER strongly recommends the AAAS science assessment for middle school science test questions. Test items are sorted by subject and topic, and each question lists common misconceptions and a breakdown of how hundreds or thousands of students responded to the items. It can be found at

Math Assessment Project
The project is working to design and develop well-engineered assessment tools to support US schools in implementing the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM).

Examples of Formative Assessment in Practice
Public Schools of North Carolina, State Board of Education
Featuring vignettes and podcasts

Smarter Balanced: Sample Items and Performance Tasks
Smarter Balanced sample items illustrate the rigor and complexity of the English language arts/literacy and mathematics items and performance tasks students will encounter on the Consortium’s next-generation assessments.

Partnership for Assesment of Readiness for College and Careers: Task Prototypes and Sample Items
The primary purpose of sharing samples of PARCC items is to provide information about the assessment system and support educators as they transition to the Common Core State Standards and the PARCC tests. The samples presented here are designed to shine a light on important elements of the CCSS and to show how critical content in the standards may appear in PARCC’s next-generation, technology-based assessments.

Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment
Black, P. & Wiliam, D. (1998). Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139-148.
Probably the most cited document on formative assessment, this article identifies efforts to raise student achievement levels that failed because they focused on standards and accountability while ignoring what teachers and students do in the classroom. The authors then proceed to summarize the research evidence that improving formative assessment practices significantly improves student performance and to describe how to go about developing better formative assessment skills of teachers.

The concept of formative assessment
Boston, C. (2002). Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 8(9).
This item, in a peer-review electronic journal, very briefly describes formative assessment and some significant research related to it. It is cited here because it identifies several resources for teachers.

Summaries of Research Syntheses and Other Seminal Documents on Formative Assessment CCSSO FAST SCASS

Making Connections DVD


Making Connections: Targets, Assessments & Student Learning
An educational case study DVD

This video presents a case example of changing assessment literacy practices at Rockcastle County Middle School. Ken Mattingly, a 7th grade science teacher, shares how he has implemented standards-based grading practices in his classroom and describes the tools and strategies he used to do so.

The RCMS principal, Jason Coguer, discusses how he worked with Mr. Mattingly to support him during the transition and how these practices have been adopted by other classrooms throughout the school.
Parents and students share their reactions about the impact assessment for learning has had on motivation and learning. They remark on the positive results it has on the students’ willingness to persevere through challenging content.

The classroom lesson segment demonstrates how Mr. Mattingly uses the targets and assessment strategies with the students, featuring key ideas such as:

  • Sharing learning targets with students
  • Congruency of the lesson to the target
  • Congruency of the assessments to the target
  • Quality questioning
  • Feedback
  • Discussion and dialogue

Making Connections: Targets, Assessments & Student Learning is beneficial as a training aide for teachers and administrators alike. Teachers can see how to effectively use formative assessment strategies in the classroom, and the learning results that occur. Administrators can use this to work with their faculty to show that the transition to standards-based grading is possible to achieve in the classroom, resulting in improved student learning.

Length: 70 minutes
Cost: $150

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P-12 Students


STEM fields video from the University of Kentucky’s STEM Education Lab

P-12 Educators


Common Core State Standards: Implementation Tools and Resources
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is pleased to announce the release of an updated edition of its Common Core Implementation Tools and Resources Guide. CCSSO developed this list of free tools and resources to point states, districts and educators to promising ideas and tools to support the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. This guide is free.

Spark 101: Interactive Videos
Engage high school students in real-world problems and highlight inspiring science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers using the videos at In each video, a STEM professional presents a problem and potential solutions for students to explore.

US Geological Survey: Interagctive page for the Water Cycle
An interactive on-line version of the water cycle – with versions for three age levels. View the water cycle diagram on the web and hover over components and see popup information, pictures, and further links.

Mathematics Common Core Coalition (M3) – The Mathematics Common Core Coalition (MC3) has established this website to provide access to documents and links to material, information, and resources that the organizations of the coalition are providing to the public and to the education community about CCSSM. Teachers, district and state leaders, and mathematics educators can visit this site for information about the implementation, interpretation, and assessment of the CCSSM.

Free earth science resources – Maps, posters, PowerPoints, and other publications from the Kentucky Geological Survey to K – 12 classrooms.

Free STEM Resources – Through the support of Lockheed Martin’s K-12 education initiative, Engineers in the Classroom, First Book and Lockheed Martin are partnering to bring Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) educational resources to school and community programs serving children in need.

30 Songs of Chemistry

National Library of Virtual Initiatives

Human Footprint – What makes up an average human life today and how everything we do has impact on the world around us. In a playful, surprising and thought-provoking portrait of our time on earth, National Geographic demonstrates, in a series of remarkable visuals, what makes up an average human life today and how everything we do has impact on the world around us. In this unique journey through life, it shows all the people you will ever know, how much waste you will produce, the amount of fuel you’ll consume and how much you’ve got to pack in during your 2,475,526,000 seconds on earth. It is a 92 minute movie.

Enhance Your Content Knowledge – Universe: How We Know What We Know – This free, two-hour, online, inquiry-based content module explores the methods and tools used by astronomers to study the universe and the various objects it contains.

“Why Do I Need This Math Class” poster

“Why Do I Need This Science Class” poster

Free PDF Books from National Academies Press – As of June 2, 2011, all PDF versions of books published by NAP will be downloadable free of charge to anyone. This includes our current catalog of more than 4,000 books plus future reports published by NAP.

‘Kentucky on iTunes U’ Now Available with Free P-20 Educational Content – The new learning platform is a collaboration among the University of Kentucky College of Education, the Kentucky Department of Education and Kentucky Educational Television (KET).

Tools for Ambitious Science Teaching

Wolfram Demonstrations Project

Khan Academy – Template Library

Program Data


Appalachian Science Inititative Shows Long Term Results – Article from UKNow



An NGSS Resource for Parents
NSTA has developed a resource for parents to help them better understand the importance of standards and the role they play in education. The Q&A is a great resource for science teachers, principals, and other administrators to distribute to and discuss with parents.

Common Core State Standards: Implementation Tools and Resources
CCSSO developed this list of free tools and resources to support state education agencies, districts, and educators during the process of implementing the College- and Career-Ready Standards. The resources are developed by CCSSO and other leading organizations and are not intended to be a comprehensive list of all available resources. CCSSO does not endorse any for-profit products.

EdWeek Article: Science Standards Require a Teacher-Learning Rethink
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is pleased to announce the release of an updated edition of its Common Core Implementation Tools and Resources Guide. CCSSO developed this list of free tools and resources to point states, districts and educators to promising ideas and tools to support the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. This guide is free.

Literacy Design Collaborative
The Literacy Design Collaborative is a loosely affiliated group of teachers and other partners building out a template-based approach to the literacy demands of college and the workplace, as defined by the Common Core State Standards.

Equity Case Studies for NGSS Implementation
Achieve Inc., the organization responsible for the publication of the Next Generation Science Standards, has just published seven real-life case studies describing how effective instruction using the new standards might look in classrooms filled with seven different types of science learners: English-language learners, students with disabilities, students who are racial and ethnic minorities, poor students, girls, students in alternative education settings, and gifted and talented students.

Spotlight on DR K-12 Environmental/Earth Science Projects and the Next Generation Science Standards
In this spotlight, each project team has chosen one aspect of their work to highlight in order to share a few examples of how the NGSS dimensions—Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas—can be integrated in education materials and lesson plans.

EdWeek Spotlight: Math and the Common Core
The Education Week Spotlight on Math and the Common Core is a collection of articles hand-picked by our editors in a downloadable PDF.



University of Kentucky STEM Education Department

Over the last 3 years, the National Science Foundation has sponsored a series of STEM Smart Workshops which have showcased promising practices and resources in support of effective K-12 STEM Education in schools and programs. We invite you to visit the collection of resources from past meetings.

Want to succeed in STEM? Listen to the experts! – Interesting article from The Innovative Educator blog. “The problem is that our ‘quality’ teachers and their administrators are not given the freedom to support children in ways that will produce the scientists and innovators our country needs.”

Why STEM? Why now? – Infographic from a nonprofit for advancing STEM in Washington state.