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Investigating NEPF Standard 5 Through the Lens of Science (K-12)

Published: May 24, 2016   |   Categories: Professional Development

This science-based Nevada Educator Performance Framework (NEPF) workshop is designed to help K-12 teachers increase their knowledge and understanding of the NEPF Instructional Standards as they relate to science instruction at elementary, middle, and high school levels.  This is the fifth in a series of five (5) four-hour, stand-alone sessions that focus on each high-leverage instructional standard.

This workshop provided an in-depth look at NEPF Standard 5: Assessment is Integrated Into Instruction in the context of classroom strategy identification, modeled practice, collaborative planning, and reflection in science instruction.

The science team at SNRPDP has developed a phased-model professional development structure to aid science departments, grade levels, and whole schools in conducting targeted learning opportunities during Staff Development Days and/or Structured Teacher Planning Time (e.g. Professional Learning Communities). The following is an overview of our phased-PD plan and what was presented during this workshop. It is provided here in order for SNRPDP to maximize audience and for schools to leverage staff to engage in peer-led targeted trainings.

NOTE: All items in Blue are found in the Article Resources section of this post.

Phase 1: Science Orientation Teacher Exercise (PRE) and Guide

Professional Development Target: These structured professional development guides and exercises are designed to support science teacher awareness and understanding of the Teacher High Leverage Instructional Standards and Indicators.


  1. NEPF Prezi Overview
  2. NEPF Science Teacher Exercise (PRE) – Standard 5
  3. NEPF Science Teacher Guide – Standard 5

S5_Phase_1_-_CombinedParticipants recorded their initial responses to how they were addressing the four indicators of NEPF Standard 5 in their classrooms (Exercise – PRE). They were then were provided the NEPF Science Teacher Guide for Standard 5. One key practice example connected with Indicator 2 was discussed:

Ask students to perform a task or solve a problem.

Ask students to perform a task or solve a problem and describe their problem solving strategies in their interactive science notebook to determine the levels of understanding. Examining the student responses, written in their interactive science notebooks, will help the teacher determine if targeted learning goals or performance criteria were met. Examples of tasks or problem solving:

  • Students demonstrate the ability to accurately measure pH levels of various solutions, using available methods such as probeware or indicator paper, and describe their methods, and effectiveness of their method in their interactive science notebook.
  • Students demonstrate the ability to locate and identify cellular structures using a microscope and describe what they are seeing and why they are able to see the structures (how the light is transmitted).
  • Students demonstrate the ability to locate an earthquake epicenter on a map using data from three seismic stations recording the same earthquake, describe how they calculated the S-P wave interval, and describe why they needed three station’s data.
  • Students demonstrate their ability to construct the tallest free-standing tower given limited materials and describe their design principles in terms of criteria and constraints.

Phase 2: Science Structured PD Module

Professional Development Target: These structured professional development modules are designed to scaffold science educators through an in-depth look at each standard in the context of classroom strategy identification, modeled practice, collaborative planning, and reflection.


  1. NEPF Teacher Standard 5 with Levels Guide
  2. NEPF Science Teacher PD Standard 5 Module –Secondary

These Modules are presented in two (2) options: Face-to-Face and Online

Module Framework includes: Introduction, Video, Strategy Highlights, Team Talk, Applications, and Reflection

NEPF_PD_Module_Graphic_4_sessionsDuring the breakout room session, participants viewed video clips of science instruction. They were prompted to focus on where artifacts of student learning are/could be generated (formative assessments). Additionally they were tasked with describing what the artifact articulates and how that information informs what a teacher’s next move is as students develop their understanding.

Lastly, whole group debrief time explored two Instructional Design Models (IDMs) to assist participants with targeted evidence collection. IDMs provide guidelines or frameworks to organize and structure the process of creating instructional activities. Modified Science Writing Heuristic and the 5-E (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate)

The science team has begun work on Phase 3, titled Science Portfolio Guidance. This includes a  Professional Development Target that is designed to encourage teachers 1) to take an active role in evidence collection, through personal review and reflection, and 2) to develop a portfolio of evidence to support achievement of the teacher High Leverage Instructional Standards and Indicators. Currently available in this phase is the Teacher Video Review and Reflection Activity. After teacher review and feedback, these resources will be posted on the SNRPDP Website as they are developed.