Life Science Performance Expectations

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Table 1. Core ideas for Life Science performance expectations
Core Idea

LS1:  From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

LS1.A: Structure and Function
LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms
LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
LS1.D: Information Processing
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
LS2.B: Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems
LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
LS2.D: Social Interactions and Group Behavior
LS3: Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
LS3.A: Inheritance of Traits
LS3.B: Variation of Traits
LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
LS4.A: Evidence of Common Ancestry and Diversity
LS4.B: Natural Selection
LS4.C: Adaptation
LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans

Defining Performance Expectations

According to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), performance expectations describe what students who demonstrate understanding should know and be able to do. Performance expectations encompass practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas (DCI). Most performance expectations are accompanied by a clarification statement, which provides examples or explains the emphasis of the performance expectation (Table 2.7). Many performance expectations also have an assessment boundary, indicating an appropriate level of depth for the performance expectations (Table 2.7). Full performance expectations including clarification statements, assessment boundaries, links to common core state standards, and how each expectation is related to practices, crosscutting concepts, and DCI are available on the NGSS website.

Table 2. Example of a Life Science Performance Expectation

3-LS4-3. Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all. [Clarification Statement: Examples of evidence could include the needs and characteristics of the organisms and habitats involved. The organisms and their habitats make up a system in which the parts depend on each other.]

Performance Expectations often encompass a depth and breadth of content that is beyond the scope of any one lesson or activity. For this reason, in Sea Earth Atmosphere, Performance Expectations are aligned at the topic level. Each topic contains a combination of content, activities, and/or special features that build toward the associated performance expectations.


For example, this curriculum addresses the performance expectation 4-LS1-2 (Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways) in the topic Information Processing: Whale Communication. The clarification statements and assessment boundary are included to clarify the elements explored in the associated activitiy, Harmonizing with Humpbacks.

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Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawai?i, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.