Commonwealth of Virginia

Standards of Learning Assessment Program

Blueprints for Grade Five

Science

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

101 N. 14th Street, Richmond, Virginia, 23219. All rights reserved. Except as permitted by law, this material may not be reproduced or used in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the copyright owner. Please contact the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Education at (804) 225-2102, Division of Assessment and Reporting, to request written permission.

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.

Grade 5: Science

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 Science for grades 4-5.

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 the question itself.

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

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

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

11. Student will be permitted to use a four-function calculator 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. Answer choices will be given as written text, numerical expressions including appropriate units, graphics, or other appropriate expressions.

3. 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.

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

C. Ancillary Materials

1. Rulers

2. Scratch paper

3. Calculators

Grade 5: Science

Blueprint Summary Table

Reporting Categories

No. of

Items

Grade Four

SOLs

Grade Five

SOLs

Scientific Investigation

10

4.1a-h

5.1a-f

Force, Motion, Energy, and Matter

10

4.2a-d

4.3a-e

5.2a-c

5.3a-c

5.4a-c

Life Processes and Living Systems*

10

4.4a-d

4.5a-f

4.8b

5.5a-d

Earth/Space Systems and Cycles*

10

4.6a, b

4.7a-e

4.8a, c, d

5.6a-d

5.7a-f

SOLs Excluded from This Test: No SOLs are excluded.



Total Number of Operational Items

40

Field-Test Items**

10

Total Number of Items

50

*Standards from the Resources strands are incorporated in this Reporting Category.

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

Reporting Category: Scientific Investigation

Number of Items: 10

Grade Four SOLs in This Reporting Category:

4.1 The student will plan and conduct investigations in which

a) distinctions are made among observations, conclusions (inferences), and predictions;

b) data are classified to create frequency distributions;

c) appropriate metric measures are used to collect, record, and report data;

d) appropriate instruments are selected to measure linear distance, volume, mass, and temperature;

e) predictions are made based on data from picture graphs, bar graphs, and basic line graphs;

f) hypotheses are formulated based on cause and effect relationships;

g) variables that must be held constant in an experimental situation are defined; and

h) numerical data that are contradictory or unusual in experimental results are recognized.

Grade Five SOLs in This Reporting Category:

5.1 The student will plan and conduct investigations in which

a) appropriate instruments are selected and used for making quantitative observations of length, mass, volume, and elapsed time;

b) rocks, minerals, and organisms are identified using a classification key;

c) data are collected, recorded, and reported using the appropriate graphical representation (graphs, charts, diagrams);

d) accurate measurements are made using basic tools (thermometer, meter stick, balance, graduated cylinder);

e) predictions are made using patterns, and simple graphical data are extrapolated; and

f) estimations of length, mass, and volume are made.

Reporting Category: Force, Motion, Energy, and Matter

Number of Items: 10

Grade Four SOLs in This Reporting Category:

4.2 The student will investigate and understand that energy is needed to do work and that machines make work easier. Key concepts include

a) energy forms (electrical, mechanical, and chemical energy);

b) potential and kinetic energy;

c) simple and complex machines; and

d) efficiency, friction, and inertia.

4.3 The student will investigate and understand the characteristics of electricity. Key concepts include

a) the nature of electricity (voltage, ampere, resistance, conductors, and insulators);

b) circuits (open/closed, parallel/series);

c) magnetism and magnetic fields;

d) static electricity ; and

e) historical contributions in understanding electricity.

Grade Five SOLs in This Reporting Category:

5.2 The student will investigate and understand how sound is transmitted and is used as a means of communication. Key concepts include

a) frequency, waves, wavelength, resonance, vibration;

b) the ability of different media (solids, liquids, gases) to transmit sound; and

c) communication tools (voice, Morse code, sonar, animal sounds, musical instruments).

5.3 The student will investigate and understand basic characteristics of white light . Key concepts include

a) the visible spectrum, light waves, reflection, refraction, diffraction, opaque, transparent, translucent;

b) optical tools (eyeglasses, lenses, flashlight, camera, kaleidoscope, binoculars, microscope, light boxes, telescope, prism, spectroscope, mirrors); and

c) historical contributions in understanding light.

5.4 The student will investigate and understand that matter is anything that has mass; takes up space; and occurs as a solid, liquid, or gas. Key concepts include

a) atoms, molecules, elements, and compounds;

b) mixtures and solutions; and

c) effect of temperature on the states of matter.

Reporting Category: Life Processes and Living Systems (Standards from the Resources strands are incorporated in this Reporting Category.)

Number of Items: 10

Grade Four SOLs in This Reporting Category:

4.4 The student will investigate and understand basic plant anatomy and life processes. Key concepts include

a) the structures of typical plants (leaves, stems, roots, and flowers);

b) processes and structures involved with reproduction (pollination, stamen, pistil, sepal, embryo, spore, and seed);

c) photosynthesis (chlorophyll, carbon dioxide); and

d) dormancy.

4.5 The student will investigate and understand how plants and animals in an ecosystem interact with one another and the nonliving environment. Key concepts include

a) behavioral and structural adaptations;

b) organization of communities;

c) flow of energy through food webs;

d) habitats and niches;

e) life cycles; and

f) influence of human activity on ecosystems.

4.8 The student will investigate and understand important Virginia natural resources. Key concepts include

b) animals and plants, both domesticated and wild.

Grade Five SOLs in This Reporting Category:

5.5 The student will investigate and understand that organisms are made of cells and have distinguishing characteristics. Key concepts include

a) parts of a cell;

b) five kingdoms of living things;

c) vascular and nonvascular plants; and

d) vertebrates and invertebrates.

Reporting Category: Earth/Space Systems and Cycles (Standards from the Resources strands are incorporated in this Reporting Category.)

Number of Items: 10

Grade Four SOLs in This Reporting Category:

4.6 The student will investigate and understand how weather conditions and phenomena occur and can be predicted. Key concepts include

a) weather factors (temperature, air pressure, fronts, formation and type of clouds, and storms); and

b) meteorological tools (barometer, hygrometer, anemometer, rain gauge, and thermometer).

4.7 The student will investigate and understand the relationships among the Earth, moon, and sun. Key concepts include

a) the motions of the Earth, moon, and sun (revolution and rotation);

b) the causes for the Earth’s seasons and phases of the moon;

c) the relative size, position, and makeup of the Earth, moon, and sun;

d) unique properties of the Earth as a planet and as part of the solar system; and

e) historical contributions in understanding the Earth-moon-sun system.

4.8 The student will investigate and understand important Virginia natural resources. Key concepts include

a) watershed and water resources;

c) minerals, rocks, ores, and energy sources; and

d) forests, soil, and land.

Grade Five SOLs in This Reporting Category:

5.6 The student will investigate and understand characteristics of the ocean environment. Key concepts include

a) geological characteristics (continental shelf, slope, rise);

b) physical characteristics (depth, salinity, major currents);

c) biological characteristics (ecosystems); and

d) public policy decisions related to the ocean environment (assessment of marine organism populations, pollution prevention).

Reporting Category: Earth/Space Systems and Cycles (Standards from the Resources strands are incorporated in this Reporting Category.)

Number of Items: 10

Grade Five SOLs in This Reporting Category (continued):

5.7 The student will investigate and understand how the Earth’s surface is constantly changing. Key concepts include

a) the rock cycle, including the identification of rock types;

b) Earth history and fossil evidence;

c) the basic structure of the Earth’s interior;

d) plate tectonics (earthquakes and volcanoes);

e) weathering and erosion; and

f) human impact.