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This product is a two-question open-notes written assessment correlating to NGSS Standard MS-LS1-3. Students use any notes or learning they have gathered during the unit to explain how the human body is composed of subgroups that each play their own unique role in the life of the organism. The first question demonstrates students "meet" the standard, and the second question allows students to demonstrate that they "exceed" the standard.
Many people have asked me why I give open-notes assessments. I recognize that this model is a big change from the traditional multiple-choice rote memorization assessments of my own time in school. Open-notes assessments focus on student application of knowledge rather than recall, which means that students are demonstrating standards at a higher level of Bloom's Taxonomy and using more critical thinking skills. Also, students live in a world where facts and information are a short Google search away, so the rote memorization of content is no longer, in my opinion, an effective use of students' time.
With my open notes assessments, students have gathered targeted information/ notes from research, course readings, labs and investigations, and other class projects. I have repeatedly found that open-notes assessments encourage students to more actively participate in these learning activities because they know that the materials they gather will directly help them on the assessment. On assessment day, students think critically and apply knowledge on the assessments to prove that they truly understand and can use the content, not just remember it.