High School Science Performance Descriptions


S1      Physical Science Concepts:  The student produces evidence that demonstrates an understanding of:


            S1a      Structure of atoms, such as atomic composition, nuclear forces, and radioactivity.

S1b      Structure and properties of matter, such as elements and compounds; bonding and molecular interaction; and characteristics of phase changes.

S1c      Chemical reactions, such as everyday examples of chemical reactions; electrons, protons, and energy transfer; and factors that affect reaction rates such as catalysts.

            S1d      Motions and forces such as gravitational and electrical; net forces and magnetism.

S1e      Conservation of energy and increase in disorder, such as kinetic and potential energy; energy conduction, convection, and radiation; random motion; and effects of heat and pressure

S1f       Interactions of energy and matter, such as waves, absorption and emission of light, and conductivity.



S2     Life Science Concepts:  The student produces evidence that demonstrates understanding of:


S2a      The cell, such as cell structure and function relationships; regulation and biochemistry; and energy and photosynthesis.

            S2b      Molecular basis of heredity, such as DNA, genes, chromosomes, and mutations.

S2c      Biological evolution, such as speciation, biodiversity, natural selection, and biological classification.

S2d      Interdependence of organisms such as conservation of matter; cooperation and competition among organisms in ecosystems; and human effects on the environment.

S2e      Matter and energy flow through different levels of organization; and environmental constraints.

S2f       Behavior of organisms, such as nervous system regulation; behavioral responses; and connections with anthropology, society, and psychology.



S3      Earth and Space Sciences Concepts:  The student produces evidence that demonstrates understanding of:


S3a      Energy in the Earth system, such as radioactive decay, gravity, the Sun’s energy, convection, and changes in global climate.

S3b      Geochemical cycles such as conservation of matter; chemical resources and movement of matter between chemical reservoirs.

S3c      Origin and evolution of the Earth system, such as geologic time and the age of life forms; origin of life; and evolution of the Solar System.

S3d      Origin and evolution of the universe, such as the “big bang” theory; formation of stars and elements; and nuclear reactions.

            S3e      Natural resource management.



S4      Scientific Connections and Applications:  The student produces evidence that demonstrates an understanding of:


S4a      Big ideas and unifying concepts, such as order and organization; models, form and function; change and constancy; and cause and effect.

S4b      The designed world, such as the reciprocal relationship between science and technology; the development of agricultural techniques; and the reasonableness of technological designs.

S4c      Health, such as nutrition and exercise; disease and epidemiology; personal and environmental safety; and resources, environmental stress, and population growth.

S4d      Impact of technology, such as constraints and trade-offs; feedback; benefits and risks; and problems and solutions.

S4e      Impact of science, such as historical and contemporary contributions; and interactions between science and society.



S5     Scientific Thinking:  The student demonstrates skill in scientific inquiry and problem solving by using thoughtful questioning and reasoning strategies, common sense and diverse conceptual understanding, and appropriate ideas and methods to investigate science; that is, the student:


S5a      Frames questions to distinguish cause and effect; and identifies or controls variables in experimental and non-experimental research settings.

S5b      Uses concepts from Science Standards 1 to 4 to explain a variety of observations and phenomena.

S5c      Uses evidence from reliable sources to develop descriptions, explanations, and models; and makes appropriate adjustments and improvements based on additional data or logical arguments.

S5d      Proposes, recognizes, analyzes, considers, and critiques alternative explanations; and distinguishes between fact and opinion.

S5e      Identifies problems; proposes and implements solution; and evaluates the accuracy, design, and outcomes of investigations.

            S5f       Works individually and in teams to collect and share information and ideas.



S6      Scientific Tools and Technologies: The student demonstrates competence with the tools and technologies of science by using them to collect data, make observations, analyze results, and accomplish tasks effectively; that is, the student:


S6a      Uses technology and tools (such as traditional laboratory equipment, video, and computer aids) to observe and measure objects, organisms, and phenomena, directly, indirectly, and remotely, with appropriate consideration of accuracy and precision.

S6b      Records and stores data using a variety of formats, such as databases, audiotapes and videotapes.

S6c      Collects and analyzes data using concepts and techniques in Mathematics Standard 4, such as mean, median, and mode; outcome probability and reliability; and appropriate data displays.

S6d      Acquires information from multiple sources, such as print, the Internet, computer databases, and experimentation.

            S6e      Recognizes and limits sources of bias in data, such as observer and sample biases.



S7     Scientific Communication:  The student demonstrates effective scientific communication by clearly describing aspects of the natural world using accurate data, graphs, or other appropriate media to convey depth of conceptual understanding in science; that is, the student:


S7a      Represents data and results in multiple ways, such as numbers, tables, and graphs; drawings, diagrams, and artwork; technical and creative writing; and selects the most effective way to convey the scientific information.

S7b      Argues from evidence, such as data produces through his or her own experimentation or data produced by others.

            S7c      Critiques published materials, such as popular magazines and academic journals.

            S7d      Explains a scientific concept or procedure to other students.

S7e      Communicates in a form suited to the purpose and the audience, such as by writing instructions that others can follow; critiquing written and oral explanations; and using data to resolve disagreements.



S8     Scientific Investigation:  The student demonstrates scientific competence by completing projects drawn from the following kinds of investigation, including at least one full investigation each year and, over the course of high school, investigation that integrate several aspects of Science Standards 1 to 7 and represent all four of the kinds of investigation:


            S8a      Controlled experiment.

            S8b      Fieldwork.

            S8c      Design.

            S8d      Secondary research.