Answers to All Your STEM Gauge Questions

  • Why choose STEM Gauge?

    STEM Gauge® is a formative assessment resource with ready-to-use content built to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS*). Each STEM Gauge item (question) set addresses the 3 dimensions in each Performance Expectation (PE) that support teachers’ formative assessment activities and strategies. STEM Gauge supports classroom instruction and provides students with opportunities to demonstrate understanding of PEs as instruction occurs.

  • What comes with STEM Gauge?
    •  15 NGSS topic-based item sets—each including 20–25 assessment questions built to the Performance Expectations (PEs);
    •  A Teacher’s Guide with strategies for using each set to provide evidence of students’ understanding;
    •  Formative Support Tools that help teachers integrate the NGSS into classroom instruction and assessment; and
    •  Activities for kindergarten and grade 1 that are performance-based and developmentally appropriate.
  • What grade levels are available?

    STEM Gauge Middle School provides resources for grades 6–8, and STEM Gauge Elementary for grades K–5. We are defining our roadmap for development of STEM Gauge for High School.

  • Is STEM Gauge available to use online or in print?

    Both. Each STEM Gauge is available as a QTI package to ingest into your existing assessment platform and use online with students. If you don’t have an assessment platform, you can download PDF files from a secure Measured Progress site to use them in applications like, or for local printing. There are no pre-printed materials available for STEM Gauge.

  • How do I use STEM Gauge with my curriculum?

    STEM Gauge works with integrated and discipline-based curriculum models. Correlation documents are currently available for three middle school curricula: IQWST, FOSS, and STC. Let us know if you use a different curriculum and would be interested in a correlation with STEM Gauge.

  • I’m looking for a complete NGSS solution, with curriculum and assessment combined. Can STEM Gauge help?

    Yes. Measured Progress has partnered with Activate Learning to add high-quality, NGSS-aligned assessments through STEM Gauge to Activate’s world-class IQWST science curriculum for middle school.

  • When should I use STEM Gauge?

    As you need it, integrated with your instruction. STEM Gauge provides formative assessment support in the classroom, to include in your ongoing practices. You can use items or activities individually to assess student understanding and provide feedback for ongoing teaching and learning tactics. Or you can choose several items to get more evidence of student learning of a particular Performance Expectation (PE). There is no set assessment schedule for STEM Gauge; topic-based item sets are not intended to be given as a whole test, all at one time.

    Are you looking for NGSS-aligned benchmark or interim assessments for science? Measured Progress is building that solution. Please let us know if you’re interested.

  • Is STEM Gauge part of formative or summative assessment?

    STEM Gauge contributes to strong formative assessment practices that teachers use during instruction to support ongoing teaching and learning.

  • How does STEM Gauge improve instructional practices?

    STEM Gauge gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the 3 dimensions of NGSS PEs. Teachers use STEM Gauge to gather evidence of student understanding and learn where additional instruction needs to occur. STEM Gauge is designed to be flexible, so that teachers can use individual items in the classroom as the basis for a large-group discussion, small-group or peer-to-peer activity, or individual exit slip/homework.

    To help teachers pinpoint needs, all items include scoring information. Built-in distractor rationales for multiple-choice questions, and rubrics and scoring notes for constructed-response and extended-response items, help a teacher know where a student may have a misconception or partial understanding of a topic.

    The Teacher’s Guide helps teachers develop formative assessment practices and provides formative support tools to help facilitate the formative use of the items and activities.

  • What if my state has not adopted the NGSS? Can I still use STEM Gauge?

    Absolutely. Even if your state or district has not yet adopted or does not plan to adopt the NGSS, there is value in using STEM Gauge for formative assessment. STEM Gauge can help support your STEM teaching and science modeling, so students move from learning science facts to learning to think “like a scientist.”

  • How are STEM Gauge items created?

    All STEM Gauge items undergo a rigorous development and review process that includes the creation of:

    • Distractor rationales for multiple choice items, so teachers get actionable data from students who chose the incorrect answer. The distractor rationales help teachers address misconceptions and provide talking points for teachers to engage in the formative assessment feedback loop with students.
    • Rubrics for constructed-response and-extended response items are a part of that same rigorous development process.
    • Authentic scenarios and data (tables, info etc.), and appropriately permissioned texts and graphics.
  • Can I use STEM Gauge as part of a professional development program?

    Yes. STEM Gauge is much more than simply a collection of assessment items written to the NGSS. The Teacher’s Guide and Formative Support Tools give you support to transition to 3-dimensional teaching and learning in support of NGSS Performance Expectations.

    STEM Gauge provides professional development support for teachers, in a variety of ways.

    • A curriculum-embedded performance task template so teachers can use our items and questions as a springboard to develop their own performance tasks.
    • Items and Formative Support Tools that bring consistency from classroom to classroom with assessment. For example—one district coordinator is using our “Evidence Review Plan” template as evidence that teachers gain a deeper understanding of the NGSS, differentiate and scaffold instruction appropriately, and take action with the data they are getting from their formative assessment strategies and activities.
    • Tools that help teachers gain information about what students know and can do based on the NGSS. Teachers can use STEM Gauge to support their efforts in formative assessment—gathering evidence of 3-dimensional learning.
    • Materials that can serve as a model and exemplar for teachers, helping them overcome obstacles to writing their own items “from scratch.” (Watch our STEM Gauge webinars for some ideas on implementing formative assessment strategies with STEM Gauge items.)
  • How long do STEM Gauge questions usually take?

    The timing varies widely by question and student. STEM Gauge item types include

    • Selected-response (multiple choice)
    • Constructed-response (written response)
    • Extended-response (written response)

    Individual selected-response questions may take one or two minutes for students who have mastered that particular performance expectation. For a constructed-response or extended-response question, a student may need up to 20 minutes to complete. Teachers can use a single STEM Gauge question as a quick exit slip during class time, or can assign two or three longer questions as a homework assignment.

  • Does STEM Gauge include reporting capabilities? Is there a report analysis?

    STEM Gauge includes support for teachers to score consistently, through distractor rationales, rubrics, and scoring notes for each item. Reporting capabilities are determined through your assessment platform provider. Many platforms include reporting analysis as one element of a score report. Measured Progress has partnered with a number of assessment platform providers that offer reporting for STEM Gauge.

  • Are there Technology-Enhanced Items (TEIs) in STEM Gauge?

    No, there are no TEIs included in STEM Gauge at this time. Let us know if you’re interested in TEIs for your science content.

  • You list three domains⎯Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth and Space Science. Are there also engineering topics in STEM Gauge?

    STEM Gauge follows the NGSS, and engineering concepts are often addressed in the Cross Cutting Concepts and Science and Engineering Practices. STEM Gauge is developed by grade span, and doesn’t specifically address engineering as a separate topic.

  • How much does STEM Gauge cost?

    Pricing is on a per-student basis, as determined by your current enrollment. We grant you a 7-year site license, and the content is yours to use for the next 7 years, for that number of students. 

  • Are there enhancements planned for STEM Gauge?

    STEM Gauge isn’t a product that will change every year like a subscription product might. You buy a site license and can then use it for the next 7 years. If Measured Progress updates STEM Gauge, the updates will be made available to current customers.

  • What training do you provide with STEM Gauge?

    The Teacher’s Guide helps teachers make the most of STEM Gauge materials. Teachers can also access recorded webinars.

*NGSS is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.