Standards and Assessments in Science

Elementary kids doing a science experiment
Reach out to us for more information about how we support states and schools to develop high-quality standards and assessments.

While over 90% of U.S. states and territories use the science standards aligned with the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences or Next Generation Science Standards, many reports—such as Call to Action for Science Education in 2021 and Taking Stock of NGSS Implementation in 2022—highlight the need for implementation tools, resources, and cohesive state and local policies to support equitable science teaching and learning outcomes for all students. These reports also cite the challenges that states and districts face in providing equitable science teaching and learning outcomes for all students. 

Our Work

AIR provides support and guidance to states and districts by working together to develop collaborative processes and policies. This ensures the implementation of high-quality aligned science standards, instruction, assessment, and support for teachers and leaders. AIR’s team includes content and practitioner experts with experience in science standards reform efforts. We partner with states and districts, offering assistance in reviewing and revising science standards, developing implementation strategies and plans, identifying high-quality resources, and aligning teaching and learning policies. 

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)—TIMSS

AIR’s experts provide technical and analytical support for U.S. participation in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Support includes consultation and management support; technical review of data; expert analysis; technical support for the development of web-based data tools and other products; and training of outside researchers to use TIMSS data files and other survey resources. These international research products and tools serve as valuable resources for states seeking to strengthen their standards-based systems.

Project Highlights

Graphic: AIR Social Studies Standards Ecosystem



AIR’s Standards and Assessment ecosystem provides a cohesive and comprehensive structure to guide the development of science standards-aligned systems. 

Explore our project highlights below for examples of each of the elements of our ecosystem.

With the Kentucky Department of Education, AIR planned, facilitated, and documented the revision process for the Kentucky Academic Standards for science...

AIR worked with standards advisory committees and standards review committees comprised of teachers, students, representatives from an institution of higher education, K-12 administrators, and professional organizations to revise the standards for science.  

Learn more about AIR's work in planning and facilitating

AIR coordinated the review and revision processes for academic standards in Science, Technology & Engineering, and Environmental Literacy and Sustainability (STEELS) in Pennsylvania...

The new standards are aligned with current research and best practices in science education and anchored in stakeholder feedback.

Learn more about AIR's work developing standards

AIR worked with the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education to codevelop a vision and implementation plan for implementing the Virgin Islands’ new science standards...

In partnership, the department and AIR carried out on-site professional development, provided coaching and support to NGSS leads, and provided support and technical assistance to participants in the field.

Learn about AIR's work supporting standards implementation

In collaboration with Genentech, AIR served as an evaluator of biotechnology curriculum for alignment with the California Career Technical and Education standards, compatibility with the NGSS framework, and adherence with University of California science subject requirements...

AIR also facilitated a series of focus groups to collect feedback from high school teachers on how the curriculum was being used. Through these evaluation activities, AIR generated curriculum alignment and evidence reports for program developers, teachers, and schools interested in using the biotechnology curriculum. 

Learn more about AIR's work analyzing curricula

AIR has extensive experience in conducting comparison and alignment studies across various standards and frameworks...

For example, AIR evaluated the alignment between the NGSS and the NAEP frameworks in science, mathematics, and technology and engineering literacy.  

AIR experts also developed a white paper that considers the need for revising the NAEP science framework to reflect contemporary changes in science standards, instruction, and assessment. Additionally, this paper considers the possibility of merging the NAEP science and technology and engineering literacy frameworks to create an integrated science and technology framework and assessment.  

Learn more about AIR's work conducting alignment studies

The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at AIR, in collaboration with the National Association of State Boards of Education, co-developed the report New Science Standards: A Readiness Assessment for State Boards of Education to aid in the implementation of new science standards...

This report provides clear examples, resources, and a step-by-step process for state boards of education to modify, adapt, or develop new science standards.

Learn more about AIR's work supporting policy and practice