By using the same scale for the entire unit, the SEPUP assessment system allows teachers to obtain evidence about the students' progress. Without the context or criteria that the SEPUP scoring guide (Table 4-3) provides, a score of “2” on an assessment, could be interpreted as inadequate, even if the scale is 0-4. However, as the scoring guide indicates, in this example, a “2” represents a worthwhile step on the road to earning a score of “4”. In practice, the specific areas that need additional attention are conveyed in the scoring guide, thus a student could receive a “2” as feedback and know what they need to do to improve the piece of work. The scoring guide also can provide summative assessments at any given point.

TABLE 4-3 SEPUP Scoring Guide

Scoring Guide: Evidence and Tradeoffs (ET) Variable


Using Evidence

Response uses objective reason(s) based on relevant evidence to argue for or against a choice.

Using Evidence to Make Tradeoffs

Response recognizes multiple perspectives of issue and explains each perspective using objective reasons, supported by evidence, in order to make a choice.


Response accomplishes level 3, AND goes beyond in some significant way, e.g. questioning or justifying the source, validity, and/or quantity of the evidence.

Accomplishes Level 3 AND goes beyond in some significant way, e.g., suggesting additional evidence beyond the activity that would influence choices in specific ways, OR questioning the source, validity, and/or quantity of the evidence and explaining how it influences choice.


Provides major objective reasons AND supports each with relevant and accurate evidence.

Uses relevant and accurate evidence to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of multiple option, and makes a choice supported by the evidence.


Provides some objective reasons AND some supporting evidence, BUT at least one reason is missing and/or part of the evidence is incomplete.

States at least two options AND provides some objective reasons using some relevant evidence BUT reasons or choices are incomplete and/or part of the evidence is missing; OR only one complete and accurate perspective has been provided.


Provides only subjective reasons (opinions) for choice; uses unsupported statements; OR uses inaccurate or irrelevant evidence from the activity.

States at least one perspective BUT only provides subjective reasons and/or uses inaccurate or irrelevant evidence.


Missing; illegible, or offers no reasons AND no evidence to support choice made.

Missing, illegible, or completely lacks reasons and evidence.


Student had no opportunity to respond.

SOURCE: Science Education for Public Understanding Program (1995).

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement