NSCAS Science Assessment Transition

NSCAS Science for general assessment is administered to students in grades 5 & 8.   Science assessment will transition to College and Career Ready in 2021-2022.

If a student is taking the Science Alternate Assessment please go to the  NSCAS Alternate Summative Assessment Page.

Test Administration Window

March 22, 2021 – April 30, 2021

Make-up Testing Only

May 3, 2021 – May 7, 2021

Science Classroom Formative Task Repository for Grades 5 & 8

A repository of classroom formative tasks aligned to the indicator level of the standards for 5th and 8th grades. Tasks were developed by NE educators and cover the breadth of the standards giving students an opportunity to provide evidence of what they can know and can do related to that standard.


Click on the link below and enter the password to access the repository.

Formative Task Repository Page

If you are a NE educator and are needing the password, email the Statewide Assessment at nde.stateassessment@nebraska.gov

NSCAS Science Test Design

This recording explains the NSCAS Science test design including information about:

  • Field testing 2021
  • Blueprint and test design
  • NCCRS-S language and connections to the blueprint
  • Resources

NSCAS Science Test Design Recording
Time: 32:23
NSCAS Science Test Design PowerPoint 

NSCAS Science DRAFT Blueprint
This document is an overview of the design of the NSCAS Science test.

NSCAS Science DRAFT Blueprint Breakdown

This document breaks down the Science DRAFT blueprint and shows the connections to the Nebraska College and Career Ready Standards.

Draft NSCAS General Science Achievement Level Descriptors (ALDs)  were developed by NE science educators prior to the development of NSCAS science summative tasks. These draft ALDs are derived from the Nebraska College and Career Ready Standards for Science and will be finalized in the summer of 2021. Achievement level descriptors (ALDs) describe the knowledge, skills, and processes that students demonstrate on state tests at pre-determined levels of achievement for each tested grade level, 5th & 8th . These science ALDs are intended to describe the performance exhibited by students at the Developing, On-Track, and College and Career Ready levels on the state science assessment. ALDs can enhance understanding of a student’s academic strengths and weaknesses and guide educators in planning.

NSCAS Science Summative ALDs

Science Transition Pre-Pilot & Pilot Resources

CCR Extended Indicators for Science

Science Transition Resources

Free, accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital resources that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing.  The NDE and ESUCC have provided a Nebraska OER repository for use by ESUs, school districts, and educators with the goal to curate and create quality open educational resources that are aligned to NE standards.

For more information about the Nebraska OER Hub including links to access it and become a member, view this PowerPoint.

These online modules are professional learning courses that will support teachers understanding of the Nebraska Science Standards. These can be completed independently by teachers or used as a large group training. The topics of the first module, Introduction to NCCR-S, include key features of NCCR-S, phenomena, and 3D assessment.  The main focus of the second module, Getting to know NCCR-S, is a deeper dive into phenomena.

Digital Learning Center 

Click on the link above to access the digital learning center.  You will need to create and activate a free account using your personal email to avoid difficulties with district firewalls. The courses are found in the Teaching and Learning course listing

This 4-state collaborative (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas) is designed to support science educators on a journey to implement 3-Dimensional standards in a supported and sustained learning network that draws upon multiple perspectives and experiences.

The structure of last year’s webinar series was one webinar each month hosted by one state. Each webinar was recorded and posted on the site, please visit the webinar tab to see archived webinars. Topics included: Engage in Argument from Evidence, Phenomena, Develop and Use Models, 3D Assessment. New MINK webinars are planned for the 2019-20 school year. Check back to the site later this year for update.

MINK Webinars Link 


This website houses tools, information, and resources developed as part of the Strengthening Claims-based Interpretations and Uses of Local and Large-scale Science Assessment Scores (SCILLSS) project. We pronounce that just like the word “skills”!

SCILLSS brings together a consortium of three states – Nebraska, Montana, and Wyoming – with a team of researchers and a panel of experts on validity theory, principled-design, psychometrics, and STEM education to establish a foundation for creating enhanced science assessments. Such assessments would yield scores with strong validity evidence to support score interpretation and use.

SCILLSS is funded for a 48-month period from 2017 through 2020 by an Enhanced Assessment Grant from the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the US Department of Education, awarded to the Nebraska Department of Education


Developing Classroom Tasks using tools from SCILLSS project

This PowerPoint is a quick introduction to the process and tools for developing a valid 3D classroom science task. It describes the steps and templates to help teachers with this development.

A-Guide-to-Develop-Classroom-based Interpretations and Uses of Local and Large Scale Science Assessment Scores provides more detail about the process and includes the templates for use and examples of completed tasks using the tools.

https://goopenmichigan.org/  – Phenomenal Science Collection – Units of Study for K-6 are here.

– Storylines, units, tasks, and assessments are linked to the multiple DCI’s covered within. For middle and high school.


https://sites.google.com/uni.edu/welcome-to-assist-science/home – K-5 units of study.  If you are new to understanding how to teach the new Science standards there are some great videos that do a good job of explaining more about NGSS and the new pedagogy of teaching science.

OpenSciEd is a nonprofit organization that brings together educators, administrators, curriculum developers, and professional development designers and providers to improve science education through the development and implementation of high-quality, freely-available, science instructional materials. While this work has begun at the middle school level with grades six through eight, the goal of OpenSciEdis to ensure that all educators, from elementary to high school, have access to a coherent, rigorous, research-based set of instructional materials that will support all students in meeting the vision for science literacy described in the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards. The released units can also be found in OER Hub.

OpenSciEd Website 

Access the Instructional Materials


OpenSciEd Unit Release Schedule    (Middle School Units)


Next Generation Science Storylines Website

The Next Generation Science Storylines project is dedicated to providing tools that support teachers in developing, adapting, and teaching with strongly aligned NGSS materials in classrooms around the country.

A storyline is a coherent sequence of lessons, in which each step is driven by students’ questions that arise from their interactions with phenomena. A student’s goal should always be to explain a phenomenon or solve a problem.

K-5 Storylines:   http://www.nextgenstorylines.org/elementary

Middle School Storylines:   http://www.nextgenstorylines.org/middle-school

High School Storylines:   http://www.nextgenstorylines.org/high-school


These can also be found in the OER Hub.

Administrators’ Days 2019 – 7.29.20

Administrators’ Days 2019 – 7.31.19

Science Transition FAQs


For more information on the NSCAS Science Assessment Transition please contact the individuals below:

Rhonda True, Enhanced Education Grant Coordinator

Audrey Webb, Science Education Specialist

To access the NDE Science Education Page, please click the link below.

Updated November 3, 2020 4:20pm