Participate in NECAP science inquiry task field test

The Maine DOE is recruiting schools to serve as field testing sites to administer the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) Science Inquiry Tasks in grades 5, 8 and 11. These field tests give students the opportunity to engage with science content in a different way than traditional assessments and provide feedback about their experience.

The field tests will occur between Nov. 1 and 22.  In the NECAP science assessment, inquiry tasks can be a traditional paper-and-pencil test session or “hands on,” meaning students work in pairs to conduct an experiment and record data before responding independently to test questions. For the field tests this fall, the grade 5 inquiry task is “hands on,” and the grades 8 and 11 tasks are paper-and-pencil tests. In general, the tasks are always “hands on” at grade 5 and can be either “hands on” or a paper-and-pencil test at grade 8, depending on the task. The grade 11 tasks are always paper-and-pencil tests.

The inquiry tasks and administrator instructions will be sent to schools approximately one week prior to the administration date so that test administrators have time to review the materials and read the instructions. Because the grades 8 and 11 tasks are paper-and-pencil tests, participating schools will receive test materials and instructions in the mail, with an agreed-upon test window in which to administer the field test and return all the materials.

Grade 5 schools should reserve approximately three hours in the morning or afternoon to complete the inquiry task field test and follow-up interviews. Representatives from Measured Progress will attend the field test administration in grade 5 to record observations during testing. The representatives will be available approximately 30 minutes prior to the field test administration to meet with the designated test administrators to answer any questions. The test administrator will need approximately 10 minutes to set up the inquiry tasks prior to students beginning the test session. The inquiry task field test is designed to be completed in a minimum of approximately 75 minutes, but schools should schedule 120 minutes for testing to ensure that all students complete the test. The breakout of testing time for grade 5 students is as follows:

  • Directions, demonstrating materials, student-making predictions: 15 to 30 minutes
  • Directions, students performing inquiry task (in pairs), cleaning up: 30 to 45 minutes
  • Students responding to test questions (individually): 30 to 45 minutes

Grade 5 schools should plan to make students available for approximately 20 minutes following the completion of the field test in order to speak with a representative from Measured Progress. This representative will solicit feedback from students as a group about their field test experience. In addition, the test administrators will be expected to provide feedback about the administration of the inquiry tasks after testing. Questions for the administrators focus on topics such as clarity of the inquiry task and instructions, level of task difficulty, level of student engagement, ease of inquiry task kit material set-up and use, format of booklet and graphics, and other general comments about the inquiry task. If time does not allow for teacher interviews, this follow-up can be done via email.

At grades 8 and 11, no set-up time is required for the inquiry task. The inquiry task at these grades is designed to be completed in 45 to 60 minutes, but schools should schedule 60 minutes for students to complete the test. Grades 8 and 11 students will be given a short questionnaire after completing the task. This questionnaire will be returned to Measured Progress with the other test materials. Administrators will also receive a questionnaire to complete, but administrator responses can be submitted to Measured Progress via email if preferred.

The total time commitment for participation in the grade 5 field test will be approximately two hours of student time and up to three hours for test administrators. The total time commitment for grades 8 and 11 will be just over one hour for students and an hour and a half for test administrators. Schools will be paid $5 per completed test. It is helpful to have more than one classroom within a school participate in the inquiry task field test.

If schools are interested in having classrooms participate, contact Elliot Dunn at Measured Progress at or 800-431-8901 ext. 2126.


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