Samples from the Tests for Higher Standards in Science
2005 Standards

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There are two different products for each content area: the Grade-Level Tests and the Item Bank Minitests. These products provide an excellent set of flexible assessment tools for an ongoing diagnostic/remediation approach to instruction while providing consistent feedback to students, teachers, schools, and districts.
Most importantly, the TfHS products provide a way for students and teachers to focus on specific grade-level content. The material included on the tests is challenging, often evocative, and always useful to students who must prepare to do well on the PASS tests.


Any use of the TfHS Grade-Level Tests will do at least two things:
* provide students with practice for the state-mandated PASS tests, and
* give teachers the chance to see the Academic Standards content embodied in actual test items.

Test Coverage
The Tests for Higher Standards Grade-Level Tests in the areas of Mathematics, Science, History/Social Studies, and Reading/English Language Arts for grades K through high school have been developed to help teachers focus instruction on the content and processes of the South Carolina Academic Standards. Because TfHS Grade-Level Tests closely match the Academic Standards, their value is in helping teachers plan, teach, and assess, providing information about student and program strengths and weaknesses.

Test Description
TfHS Grade-Level Tests are criterion-referenced tests, developed using SC blueprints. The tests can be hand-scored or scored by a commercial scoring service.
Each test item (question) has been designed to measure one or more aspects of a single Academic Standard. The resulting TfHS Grade-Level Tests are content-valid in that test items are clearly referenced to individual Standards and measure them directly.
The tests were developed by experts in each subject area field in with the help of consultants from South Carolina and the nation. The Academic Standards and local district curriculum guides provided content objectives and vocabulary.

Pre-Post Testing
The TfHS Grade-Level Tests can be used before and after instruction to determine the progress of learning. We recommend testing students over the course of a school year, but some circumstances may dictate a shorter pre-post test period. In addition, we suggest these guidelines:
* Students who take a TfHS Grade-Level Test as a pretest at the beginning of a school year should take the test designed for that grade level.
* In some subjects, however, teachers could choose to use the TfHS Grade-Level Test for the previous, just-completed, grade level. The post-test, given near the end of the school year, or at the end of that grade's course of instruction, would be the test for the students' current grade.
* If at least six months intervene between pre- and post- testing, it is both practical and preferable to use the same form of the same grade-level test unless the grade level below was used as a pretest.
* The TfHS Grade-Level Tests are necessarily challenging. Teachers who work with students whose achievement is consistently below grade level may find the test for that grade level too difficult. In such cases, instructional leaders may choose to administer tests from earlier levels.

As these tests were developed using SC blueprints, they are suitable for use as practice for the PASS tests. They could be given just prior to PASS so that the student would be comfortable when taking the actual PASS test.

Physical ScienceTest
Class MatrixThe Classroom Matrix: The Classroom Matrix will help you focus instruction, guiding the way you spend instructional time, and helping you make decisions about the sequence in which you teach the content and processes for the Grade-Level Standards for your subject and grade level. The Matrix gives you a picture of your student's strengths and weaknesses as individuals, as a class, and ultimately as a district. The Matrix also provides performance data about each Standard.


Mini Tests

Description and Uses
With the Grade-Level Tests in place, we felt a need to provide teachers and students with a means for ongoing feedback about student achievement. Hence, we produced Minitests. We believe these booklets fill a present instructional void in Academic Standard-specific assessment content.
The booklets exist for all content areas, in grades K-high school. The index/matrix page for each minitest indicates the page and number of items available to measure each Academic Standard for that grade. We have provided a sufficient number of test items to yield a reliable means of determining either satisfactory or unsatisfactory student achievement on a Standard. In establishing the items to include, we used carefully considered teacher judgments of the number and variety of questions necessary. Again, We developed enough items to evaluate the various components of each Standard so that a teacher could make a reliable judgment about a student's individual Academic Standard achievement.
If the Academic Standards are taught in some combination, several assessments from the minitest can easily be combined into one test. You might shorten the combination by eliminating certain items for given time constraints. Additionally, you might add more open-ended or essay questions to the test. We see this as highly desirable and could be a means to increase the evaluations of higher order, analysis-like objectives. Multiple-choice questions can easily be turned into open-ended assessments by simply eliminating the distracters. However, be aware that this can make the same question somewhat more difficult or much, much harder. Occasionally it can make a question easier, all depending on the individual question.
For grades K-11, the questions were developed primarily according to the item specifications given in the test blueprints published by the State. Usually, students in grades K and 1 will need to have the test read to them as individuals or in groups. In grades 2 and 3, you may need to assist the individual student by clarifying or explaining the question. Students who read very poorly could be tested separately in a small group. The questions could be read aloud to this group. Beyond grade 3, this should not be necessary, but we recommend giving individual question clarification if that is needed.
Please note that the correct answer to an item on a MiniTest is noted on the item itself! The correct item is in blue. When you are using these items to make a snapshot or benchmark test, simply highlight the entire tests and change the font color to black! Off you go.

Grade 4Test