In June 2023, EdReports launched its first reviews for high school science courses. To help increase students’ access to standards, it was clear we needed a review process flexible enough to account for all the varying needs and program designs we had uncovered. So, alongside our existing evaluations for alignment to modern science standards, we added a method called “claims-based” review. This means:

  • We determine which standards are “claimed” for a program by looking at what’s readily accessible in teacher-facing materials—for example, learning objectives stated in textbooks or teacher guides.
  • We confirm that those claimed standards are covered in the program.
  • We assess whether the content genuinely builds towards the claimed standard.

To support the navigation and understanding of our reviews, we have compiled a glossary of terms. To learn more about our overall approach to reviewing high school science materials, please visit our resource, High School Science: 4 Ways to Boost Student Access to High-Quality Materials.

Claims-Based Review

EdReports reviewers verify claims made by publishers regarding NGSS alignment rather than confirming the presence of all standards. If claims are made above the element level, all elements for that target (PE, component, sub-idea, etc.) are considered “claimed.” 

Level of Materials

  • Course – The entire program being reviewed, may or may not be connected to other courses within a series.
  • Unit – Larger concept-based components within a course, may also be referred to as a module or chapter.
  • Learning Sequence – A set of lessons or learning opportunities with a singular focus/objective, may also be referred to as a lesson set, concept, or chapter.
  • Lesson – A single learning opportunity, may also be referred to as an activity.

The Three Dimensions

  • NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) – National science standards for grades K–12 that focus on three dimensions (Disciplinary Core Ideas, Science and Engineering Practices, and Crosscutting Concepts). Based on A Framework for K-12 Science Education, a research document from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
  • DCI (Disciplinary Core Ideas) – What is traditionally known as the content of the science standards broken down into four main domains: Physical, Life, Earth and Space, and Engineering. 
  • SEP (Science and Engineering Practices) – Includes standards about what scientists and engineers do in the practice of science. The SEPs focus on eight practices which include Asking Questions and Defining Problems.
  • CCC (Crosscutting Concepts) – Overarching concepts and principles that can connect over-broad science ideas. Seven concepts including Patterns, example, and example. 
  • Component – The sub-ideas of the DCIs or the list of SEPs and CCCs. For example: DCI sub-idea PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter (from DCI core idea PS1: Matter and Its Interactions), SEP Developing and Using Models, or CCC Scale, Proportion, and Quantity. In the EdReports review process, if only components are listed as claims, reviewers will look for all elements associated with that component.
  • PE (Performance Expectation) – A three-dimensional statement that describes what students are expected to know and be able to do at the end of a grade/grade-band. Each PE lists the elements for each of the three-dimensions that connect to that PE.
  • Element – The smallest unit of the NGSS. This is the level at which EdReports reviewers collect evidence. Elements exist for each of the components in the NGSS. These elements are based on the progression information for grade-band endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. For a complete list, see the Codes for NGSS Elements.

Claims and Scoring

  • Claimed – A publisher indicates that the entire element is addressed in the course.
  • Limited Claim – A publisher indicates that part of the element is addressed in the course.
  • Not Claimed – A publisher does not indicate that the element is addressed in the course.
  • Meet – The claim the publisher makes is fully addressed in the materials. 
  • Partially Meet – The claim the publisher makes is partially addressed in the materials. 
  • Not Met – The claim the publisher makes is not addressed in the materials.