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The Nation’s Report Card: Science in Action:
Hands-On and Interactive Computer Tasks From the
2009 Science Assessment

June 2012

Author: National Center for Education Statistics

PDF Download The Nation’s Report Card: Science in Action: Hands-On and Interactive Computer Tasks From the 2009 Science Assessment PDF for viewing and printing (14357K PDF)



Cover image of The Nation's Report Card: Science 2011 report. A New Generation
of Testing

Science education is not just about learning facts in a classroom—it’s about doing activities where students put their understanding of science principles into action. That’s why two unique types of activity-based tasks were administered as part of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science assessment. In addition to the paper-and-pencil questions, fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-graders also completed hands-on and interactive computer tasks. These tasks help us understand not only what students know, but how well they are able to reason through complex problems and apply science to real-life situations. While performing the interactive computer and hands-on tasks, students manipulate objects and perform actual experiments, offering us richer data on how students respond to scientific challenges.

Here’s what we learned about student performance across the tasks:

1. Students were successful on parts of investigations that involved limited sets of data and making straightforward

2. Students were challenged by parts of investigations that contained more variables to manipulate or involved strategic decision making to collect appropriate data.

3. The percentage of students who could select correct conclusions from an investigation was higher than for

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Dig Deeper Online  

Image of a computer icon. Explore the Tasks
on the NAEP interactive website at http://nationsreportcard.gov/science_2009/
Image of a screenshot of the Mystery Plants interactive computer task.

Take any of the nine interactive computer tasks and see how you would score.

Image of a screenshot of the video of the Maintaining a Water System hands-on task.

Go behind the scenes of a
grade 12 hands-on task.

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Download the complete report in a PDF file for viewing and printing:

PDF The Nation’s Report Card: Science in Action: Hands-On and Interactive Computer Tasks From the 2009 Science Assessment report PDF (14357K PDF)

NCES 2012-468  Ordering information


Suggested Citation
National Center for Education Statistics (2012). The Nation’s Report Card: Science in Action: Hands-On and Interactive Computer Tasks From the 2009 Science Assessment (NCES 2012–468). Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

For more information, see the results of the 2009 Science assessment on the Nation's Report Card website.

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Last updated 11 June 2012 (RH)
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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education