National Standards for Grade 8 - Science
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 8. For example, they can carry out investigations and obtain information from graphs, diagrams, and tables. In addition, they demonstrate some understanding of concepts relating to the solar system and relative motion. Students at this level also have a beginning understanding of cause-and-effect relationships.
Eighth-grade students performing at the Basic level are able to observe, measure, collect, record, and compute data from investigations. They can read simple graphs and tables and are able to make simple data comparisons. These students are able to follow directions and use basic science equipment to perform simple experiments. In addition, they have an emerging ability to design experiments.
Students at this level have some awareness of causal relationships. They recognize the position of planets and their movement around the Sun and know basic weather-related phenomena. These students can explain changes in position and motion such as the movement of a truck in relation to that of a car. They also have an emerging understanding of the interrelationships among plants, animals, and the environment.
Students performing at the Proficient level demonstrate much of the knowledge and many of the reasoning abilities essential for understanding the Earth, physical, and life sciences at a level appropriate to grade 8. For example, students can interpret graphic information, design simple investigations, and explain such scientific concepts as energy transfer. Students at this level also show an awareness of environmental issues, especially those addressing energy and pollution.
Eighth-grade students performing at the Proficient level are able to create, interpret, and make predictions from charts, diagrams, and graphs based on information provided to them or from their own investigations. They have the ability to design an experiment and have an emerging understanding of variables and controls. These students are able to read and interpret geographic and topographic maps. In addition, they have an emerging ability to use and understand models, can partially formulate explanations of their understanding of scientific phenomena, and can design plans to solve problems.
Students at this level can begin to identify forms of energy and describe the role of energy transformations in living and nonliving systems. They have knowledge of organization, gravity, and motion within the solar system and can identify some factors that shape the surface of the Earth. These students have some understanding of properties of materials and have an emerging understanding of the particulate nature of matter, especially the effect of temperature on states of matter. They also know that light and sound travel at different speeds and can apply their knowledge of force, speed, and motion. These students demonstrate a developmental understanding of the flow of energy from the Sun through living systems, especially plants. They know that organisms reproduce and that characteristics are inherited from previous generations. These students also understand that organisms are made up of cells and that cells have subcomponents with different functions. In addition, they are able to develop their own classification system based on physical characteristics. These students can list some effects of air and water pollution as well as demonstrate knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of different energy sources in terms of how they affect the environment and the economy.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Assessment Governing Board.
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