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Standards-based assessment and Instruction

Inquiry-Based Performance Tasks

A Resource for Instruction & Assessment

Our engaging performance tasks are designed to help students develop conceptual understanding while utilizing the skills of inquiry, engineering and communication.

This online resource offers educators a powerful collection of planning, instruction, and assessment tools that help students learn to think critically, solve problems creatively, communicate, collaborate and succeed. Our science tasks are teacher created and classroom tested. Material may also be used for staff development.

Customizations are available for NGSS and non-NGSS based curriculum.


K–8 Material Includes:

220 open-ended inquiry-based performance tasks.

Our rich investigations are hands on and encourage students to communicate their thinking and reasoning. Tasks focus on scientific investigation and inquiry linked to earth and space science, physical science and life science.

Assessment rubrics.

Our standards-based rubric consists of four performance levels (Novice, Apprentice, Practitioner and Expert) and four assessment categories (Scientific Tools and Technologies, Scientific Procedures and Reasoning Strategies, Scientific Communication/Using Data, and Scientific Concepts and Related Content).

Student rubrics are also provided.

Annotated student anchor papers.

Each investigation includes annotated anchor papers that demonstrate student work at the performance levels of the Exemplars rubric.

These may also be used for student self and peer-assessment along with our student rubric.

Alignments and product customizations.

Our science material is designed to support state and national standards (NGSS, NSES, NRC, AAAS and STEM). Alignments are provided for NGSS, state and national STEM standards.

This product may also be customized for NGSS and non-NGSS based curriculum.

Planning Sheets and rich teaching notes.

Each task includes rich teaching notes to guide assessment and instruction, as well as Planning Sheets to help with lesson preparation.

Interdisciplinary links are also included to extend investigations across the curriculum.

Timely and comprehensive feedback.

Exemplars is a proven formative assessment tool that reflects student understanding, reasoning, achievement and growth to guide instruction and determine next steps for each individual learner.

Need help? Have a question? Contact us at
800-450-4050 or

Our teacher-friendly tasks are designed to support both the Common Core and Citywide instructional expectations. GO Math! alignments are also available.
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Here's What People Are Saying

There is more than enough in each activity for a teacher, even one without a great deal of science background, to plan high-quality, inquiry-based lessons and assess student performance with confidence ... This program will provide an invaluable service to schools ..."

C. Seidman

Science Teacher

NSTA Review Panel Member

Exemplars | 271 Poker Hill Road | Underhill, Vermont 05489 | ph: 800-450-4050 | fax: 802-899-4825 |

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