Commonwealth of Virginia

Standards of Learning Assessment Program

Blueprint for the Chemistry Test

©1997 by the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Education, James Monroe Building,

Standards of Learning (SOL) Test Blueprint

Introduction

What is a test blueprint?

A test blueprint is a guide for test construction and use. The Standards of Learning (SOL) test blueprints serve a number of purposes. One, they serve as a guide to test developers as they write test questions and construct the SOL tests. Two, they serve as a guide to educators, parents and students in that they show (a) the SOLs covered by the test and which, if any, have been excluded; (b) which SOLs are assigned to each reporting category; (c) the number of test items in each reporting category and on the total test; (d) general information about how the test questions were constructed; and (e) the materials that students are allowed to use while taking the test.

How is the test blueprint organized?

There is a blueprint for each test (e.g., grade 3 English, grade 5 mathematics, grade 8 science, U.S. History). Each blueprint contains the following information:

1. Test Development Guidelines: guidelines used by Harcourt Brace Educational Measurement and the members of the Content Review Committees in developing the SOL tests. This section contains three parts:

A. General Considerations — lists general considerations that were used in developing the test as well as considerations specific to a particular content area.

B. Item Format — lists information on how items for the test are constructed.

C. Ancillary Materials — lists any materials (e.g., calculators, rulers, protractors, compasses, dictionaries) that students are allowed to use while taking each test.

2. Blueprint Summary Table: a summary of the blueprint which displays the following information:

• reporting categories for each test;

• number of test items in each reporting category;

• Standards of Learning (SOLs) included in each reporting category. SOLs are identified by numbers and letters that correspond to the original SOL document (letters are assigned to the "bullets" in the original document);

• SOLs which are excluded from the SOL test;

• number of operational items on the test;

• number of field-test items on the test; and

• total number of items (operational and field-test items) on the test.

3. Expanded Blueprint: provides the same information as the Blueprint Summary Table except that the full text of each SOL is included. In addition, SOLs that are excluded from the test are categorized by the reason they were not included.

What is a reporting category?

Each test covers a number of SOLs. In the test blueprint, SOLs are grouped into categories that address related content or skills. These categories are labeled Reporting Categories. For example, a Reporting Category for the Grade 5 Mathematics test is "Computation and Estimation." Each of the SOLs in this reporting category addresses computation using addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division or require the student to estimate the answer to a problem. When the results of the SOL tests are reported, the scores will be presented in terms of scores for each Reporting Category and a total test score.

Are some SOLs assigned to more than one reporting category?

"Bullets" under a particular SOL are sometimes coded to different reporting categories. For example, the Science SOL 2.7a which deals with the effects that weather and seasonal changes have on the growth and behavior of living things is assigned to the reporting category "Life Processes and Living Systems" in the Grade 3 Science test. However, SOL 2.7b which deals with the effects of weather and seasonal changes on weathering and erosion of the land surface is assigned to the reporting category "Earth/Space Systems and Cycles." Each "bullet" is assigned to only one reporting category.

Why are some SOLs not tested on the SOL tests?

In some content areas, there are SOLs that do not lend themselves to multiple-choice testing. For example, in English, the oral language SOLs cannot be appropriately assessed in a multiple-choice format. In other cases, an SOL listed in one content area is covered by a similar SOL in another content area. For example, English SOL 4.9 which addresses the use of available technology to research a topic is covered by a similar SOL at grade 5 (Computer/Technology SOL C/T 5.3).

At the end of the blueprint for each test, the SOLs not tested are listed in "SOLs Excluded from Testing." In the expanded blueprint the SOLs excluded from testing are categorized by the reason they are not being tested.

Will all SOLs listed in the blueprint be assessed each time the SOL tests are given?

Due to the large number of SOLs in a content area for a grade span, every SOL will not be assessed on every SOL test form. By necessity, to keep the length of a test reasonable, each test will sample from the SOLs within a reporting category. However, every SOL is eligible for inclusion on each form of an SOL test.

Chemistry Test Development Guidelines

A. General Considerations

1. All items included in this test will address the knowledge and skills specified in the 1995 Virginia Standards of Learning in Chemistry.

2. The items will be free of stereotyping or bias directed at a particular age, gender, economic status, racial, ethnic or religious group, or geographic region.

3. The test will be untimed.

4. There is no penalty for guessing. Students will be scored on the number of correct answers out of the total number of operational items on the test.

5. The questions will be appropriate in terms of understandings and experiences that accompany an active science program.

6. Information will be presented through written text or through visual materials such as graphs, tables, models, or other illustrations.

7. Questions will require students to apply previously acquired knowledge and/or to use information that is provided in a prompt.

8. Measurements will be given in SI (metric), or English units where appropriate.

9. Students will be permitted scratch paper at any time during the test.

10. Students will be permitted to use 4-function calculators during the test.

11. Students will be permitted to use standard (e.g., inches) and metric rulers during the test.

12. Students will be permitted to use a Periodic Table of Elements during the test. A reduced copy of this table follows the expanded blueprint. Students will be provided a larger version for use during the test.

B. Item Format

1. Each item will be a multiple-choice item containing four choices. Choices such as "None of the above," "All of the above," and "Not here" will not be used.

2. Artwork used as part of the question will occur above the question unless the size or format of the artwork lends itself to another arrangement for the sake of clarity.

3. Artwork used as answer choices will appear below the question.

C. Ancillary Materials

1. Rulers

2. Scratch paper

3. Calculators

4. Periodic Table of Elements

Chemistry Blueprint Summary Table

Reporting Categories

No. of Items

SOLs

Scientific Investigation

10

CH.1a-g

Atomic Structure and

Periodic Relationships

8

CH.2a-i

 

Nomenclature, Chemical Formulas,

and Reactions

16

CH.3a-g

Molar Relationships

8

CH.4a,b, e-g

Phases of Matter and

Kinetic Molecular Theory

8

CH.4c, d

CH.5a-h

SOLs Excluded from This Test

CH.6a-c*


Total Number of Operational Items

50

Field-Test Items**

10

Total Number of Items

60

* The topics of organic and biochemistry may appear in context in other questions, but will not be tested or reported separately from the categories above.

 

** These field-test items will not be used to compute students' scores on the test.

Reporting Category: Scientific Investigation

Number of Items: 10

Chemistry SOLs in This Reporting Category:

CH.1 The student will investigate and understand that experiments in which variables are measured, analyzed, and evaluated, produce observations and verifiable data. Key concepts include

a) designated laboratory techniques;

b) safe use of chemicals and equipment;

c) proper response to emergency situations;

d) multiple variables are manipulated with repeated trials;

e) accurate recording, organizing, and analysis of data through repeated trials;

f) mathematical and procedural error analysis; and

g) mathematical manipulations (SI units, scientific notation, linear equations, graphing, ratio and proportion, significant digits, dimensional analysis, use of scientific calculator).

Reporting Category: Atomic Structure and Periodic Relationships

Number of Items: 8

Chemistry SOLs in This Reporting Category:

CH.2 The student will investigate and understand that the placement of elements on the periodic table is a function of their atomic structure. The periodic table is a tool used for the investigations of

a) mass/atomic number;

b) isotopes/half-lives/nuclear particles;

c) particle/mass charge;

d) families/groups;

e) series/periods;

f) trends/patterns: atomic/nuclear radii, electronegativity, shielding effect;

g) electron configurations/oxidation numbers;

h) chemical/physical properties; and

i) historical/quantum models.

Reporting Category: Nomenclature, Chemical Formulas, and Reactions

Number of Items: 16

Chemistry SOLs in This Reporting Category:

CH.3 The student will investigate and understand how conservation of energy and matter is expressed in chemical formulas and balanced equations. Key concepts include

a) nomenclature;

b) balancing chemical equations;

c) writing chemical formulas—molecular, structural, empirical, and Lewis diagrams;

d) bonding types—ionic, covalent;

e) reaction types—synthesis, decomposition, single and double replacement, oxidation-reduction, neutralization, nuclear, exothermic and endothermic, spontaneous/non-spontaneous, dissociation ionization;

f) physical and chemical equilibrium; and

g) reaction rates and kinetics: activation energy, catalysis, degree of randomness.

Reporting Category: Molar Relationships

Number of Items: 8

Chemistry SOLs in This Reporting Category:

CH.4 The student will investigate and understand that quantities in a chemical reaction are based on molar relationships. Key concepts include

a) Avogadro’s principle, molar volume;

b) stoichiometric relationships;

e) solution concentrations;

f) chemical equilibrium; and

g) acid/base theory: strong/weak electrolytes, dissociation/ionization (pH, pOH), and titration.

Reporting Category: Phases of Matter and Kinetic Molecular Theory

Number of Items: 8

Chemistry SOLs in This Reporting Category

CH.4 The student will investigate and understand that quantities in a chemical reaction are based on molar relationships. Key concepts include

c) partial pressure; and

d) gas laws.

Reporting Category: Phases of Matter and Kinetic Molecular Theory

Number of Items: 8

Chemistry SOLs in This Reporting Category

CH.5 The student will investigate and understand that the phases of matter are explained by kinetic theory and forces of attraction between particles. Key concepts include

a) pressure, temperature, and volume;

b) vapor pressure;

c) partial pressures;

d) phase changes;

e) molar heats of fusion and vaporization;

f) specific heat capacity;

g) solutions; and

h) colligative properties.

Chemistry SOLs Excluded from This Test

The following SOLs will not be tested or reported separately.

CH.6 The student will investigate and understand how basic chemical principles relate to other areas of chemistry. Key concepts include

a) organic and biochemistry;*

b) nuclear chemistry; and

c) environmental chemistry.

* The topics of organic and biochemistry may appear in context in other questions, but will not be tested or reported separately from the categories above.