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National Standards for Grade 4 - Science

— National Assessment Governing Board
Updated on Mar 14, 2011

Basic

Students performing at the Basic level demonstrate some of the knowledge and reasoning required for understanding the Earth, physical, and life sciences at a level appropriate to grade 4. For example, they can carry out simple investigations and read uncomplicated graphs and diagrams. Students at this level also show a beginning understanding of classification, simple relationships, and energy.

Fourth-grade students performing at the Basic level are able to follow simple procedures, manipulate simple materials, make observations, and record data. They are able to read simple graphs and diagrams and draw reasonable but limited conclusions based on data provided to them. These students can recognize appropriate experimental designs, although they are unable to justify their decisions.

When presented with diagrams, students at this level can identify seasons; distinguish between day and night; and place the position of the Earth, Sun, and planets. They are able to recognize major energy sources and simple energy changes. In addition, they show an understanding of the relationship between sound and vibrations. These students are able to identify organisms by physical characteristics and group organisms with similar physical features. They can also describe simple relationships among structure, function, habitat, life cycles, and different organisms.

Proficient

Students performing at the Proficient level demonstrate the knowledge and reasoning required for understanding the Earth, physical, and life sciences at a level appropriate to grade 4. For example, they understand concepts relating to the Earth’s features, physical properties, structure, and function. In addition, students can formulate solutions to familiar problems as well as show a beginning awareness of issues associated with technology.

Fourth-grade students performing at the Proficient level are able to provide an explanation of day and night when given a diagram.

They can recognize major features of the Earth’s surface and the impact of natural forces. They are also able to recognize water in its various forms in the water cycle and can suggest ways to conserve it. These students recognize that various materials possess different properties that make them useful. Students at this level are able to explain how structure and function help living things survive. They have a beginning awareness of the benefits and challenges associated with technology and recognize some human effects on the environment. They can also make straightforward predictions and justify their position.

Advanced

Students performing at the Advanced level demonstrate a solid understanding of the Earth, physical, and life sciences as well as the ability to apply their understanding to practical situations at a level appropriate to grade 4. For example, they can perform and critique simple investigations, make connections from one or more of the sciences to predict or conclude, and apply fundamental concepts to practical applications.

Fourth-grade students performing at the Advanced level are able to combine information, data, and knowledge from one or more of the sciences to reach a conclusion or to make a valid prediction. They can also recognize, design, and explain simple experimental procedures.

Students at this level recognize nonrenewable sources of energy. They also recognize that light and sound travel at different speeds. These students understand some principles of ecology and are able to compare and contrast life cycles of various common organisms. In addition, they have a developmental awareness of the benefits and challenges associated with technology.

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