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Testing a New Drug 1
Administration Procedures
Grades 9-12 Performance Task
Contributed by: New York State Alternative Assessment in Science Project (NYSED)


Students design a controlled study to test a new experimental drug. They write a report to send for committee approval.

The task assesses students' abilities to make design a scientific experiment.

This task is designed to take students approximately 20-35 minutes to complete.

Overall Task Content Area:

Life Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Structure and function in living systems

Performance Expectations:

  • applying scientific principles to develop explanations and solve new problems

    National Science Education Standards:

    12 A SI 1: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry: Grades 9-12
    1.2 Design and conduct scientific investigations. Designing and conducting a scientific investigation requires introduction to the major concepts in the area being investigated, proper equipment, safety precautions, assistance with methodological problems, recommendations for use of technologies, clarification of ideas that guide the inquiry, and scientific knowledge obtained from sources other than the actual investigation. The investigation may also require student clarification of the question, method, controls, and variables; student organization and display of data; student revision of methods and explanations; and a public presentation of the results with a critical response from peers. Regardless of the scientific investigation performed, students must use evidence, apply logic, and construct an argument for their proposed explanations.

    12 F SPSP 1: Personal and community health: Grades 9-12
    1.2 The severity of disease symptoms is dependent on many factors, such as human resistance and the virulence of the disease producing organism. Many diseases can be prevented, controlled, or cured. Some diseases, such as cancer, result from specific body dysfunctions and cannot be transmitted.

    1.3 Personal choice concerning fitness and health involves multiple factors. Personal goals, peer and social pressures, ethnic and religious beliefs, and understanding of biological consequences can all influence decisions about health practices.

    8 C LS 1: Regulation and behavior: Grades 5-8
    3.2 Regulation of an organismís internal environment involves sensing the internal environment and changing physiologic activities to keep conditions within the range required to survive.

    (Use the "hot" link on the PALS home page to check the full text of related National Science Education Standards, if desired.)

    General Instructions to the Teacher:

    This task is designed to take students approximately 20-35 minutes to complete.

    Students will be working individually during this exercise.

    Students should be ready to work as soon as the period begins.

    Materials for "Testing a New Drug":

    At this station students should have:

    • Student directions

    Advance Preparation:

    • The students should be encouraged to be as original as possible in their write up. Emphasize that the students are to act out the role of the chief research scientist and to write the explanation as a report going to a committee for approval. Therefore, it is important that the responses be detailed, and very clear in their meanings.


    • Be careful.
    • Teachers and students should always exercise appropriate safety precautions and utilize appropriate laboratory safety procedures and equipment when working on science performance tasks.


    • Students could form committees to read each other's reports and to grant, or not grant, approval for the implementation of the test design.

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