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NAEP Achievement Level Standards for Science Grade 8
Basic
Students performing at the Basic level should be able to state or recognize correct science principles. They should be able to explain and predict observations of natural phenomena at multiple scales, from microscopic to global. They should be able to describe properties and common physical and chemical changes in materials; describe changes in potential and kinetic energy of moving objects; describe levels of organization of living systems—cells, multicellular organisms, and ecosystems; identify related organisms based on hereditary traits; describe a model of the solar system; and describe the processes of the water cycle. They should be able to design observational and experimental investigations employing appropriate tools for measuring variables. They should be able to propose and critique the scientific validity of alternative individual and local community responses to design problems.
Proficient
Students performing at the Proficient level should be able to demonstrate relationships among closely related science principles. They should be able to identify evidence of chemical changes; explain and predict motions of objects using positiontime graphs; explain metabolism, growth, and reproduction in cells, organisms, and ecosystems; use observations of the Sun, Earth, and Moon to explain visible motions in the sky; and predict surface and ground water movements in different regions of the world. They should be able to explain and predict observations of phenomena at multiple scales, from microscopic to macroscopic and local to global, and to suggest examples of observations that illustrate a science principle. They should be able to use evidence from investigations in arguments that accept, revise, or reject scientific models. They should be able to use scientific criteria to propose and critique alternative individual and local community responses to design problems.
Advanced
Students performing at the Advanced level should be able to develop alternative representations of science principles and explanations of observations. They should be able to use information from the periodic table to compare families of elements; explain changes of state in terms of energy flow; trace matter and energy through living systems at multiple scales; predict changes in populations through natural selection and reproduction; use lithospheric plate movement to explain geological phenomena; and identify relationships among regional weather and atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns. They should be able to design and critique investigations involving sampling processes, data quality review processes, and control of variables. They should be able to propose and critique alternative solutions that reflect science-based trade-offs for addressing local and regional problems.