The design of Competency X evolved from a concern by our science teachers about how we are supporting scholars with transferring skills and knowledge to the laboratory setting so they can answer real questions with laboratory and text based research. Science is not just a body of knowledge about physical and biological phenomena, but is a process for humans to answer questions through scientific inquiry. Scientists conduct this inquiry using a toolbox of skills and knowledge that has been articulated by the Next Generations Science Standards (NGSS) as “science and engineering practices.” The problem Competency X addresses is how to develop these practices with formative assessments so that our scholars can track their own progress with them throughout the school year and beyond.
Competency X formative assessments will focus on three key science performance tasks described in Table 1: a) experiments, b) writing, and c) analysis. Formative assessment practices and instruction will be developed that result in our scholars performing tasks (e.g., running an experiment or answering questions on a quiz) which results in evidence of their knowledge and skills on science and engineering practices. The digital portfolio will be where scholars curate and reflect on the evidence they have collected and it will allow them to track their development with these practices. The digital portfolio will be linked to specific digital badges that are validated by science based industry internships and our partner local colleges. Badges will act as feedback, rather than a reward, to the scholar, colleges, and industry partners. This will also be the beginning of the talent pipeline we hope to create for our local biotechnology industry.