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SimScientists is a suite of related research and development projects in WestEd’s Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) program that focuses on the roles that simulations can play in enriching science learning and assessment.

The projects integrate the latest research findings and best practices from principled assessment design, model-based learning, cognitive science, and education measurement.

SimScientists Current Projects

  • SimScientists Games (funded by the National Science Foundation [NSF])
  • SimScientists Assessment Systems: Life Science (funded by the Institute of Education Sciences [IES])
  • SimScientists Assessment Links: Physical Science (NSF-funded)
  • SimScientists Model Progressions (IES-funded)
  • SimScientists Cross-Cutting Concepts: Progressions in Earth Systems (NSF-funded)

SimScientists Prior Projects

  • Calipers II (NSF-funded)
  • Multilevel Assessments of Science Standards (MASS) (IES-funded)
  • Integrating Simulation-Based Science Assessments into Balanced State Science Assessment Systems Enhanced Assessment Grant (funded by the U.S. Office of Secondary and Elementary Education)
  • SimScientists (IES-funded)
  • Foundations of 21st Century Science Assessments (NSF-funded)
  • SimScientists Human Body Systems (NSF-funded)

Outcomes from the SimScientists research projects include simulation-based assessments and curriculum supplements for life, physical science, and Earth science. The SimScientists research and policy studies address ways to integrate science assessments into state science assessment systems.

SimScientists staff have authored award-winning research published in major journals and presented at national conferences to share with the education community what we are learning.

Examples of SimScientists simulations have been included as ground-breaking exemplars in the National Assessment of Educational Progress frameworks for Science, for Technology and Engineering Literacy, and in National Research Council reports on Assessment of Next Generation Science Standards and in Learning Science Through Computer Games and Simulations.