For the Science test, multiple-choice questions are pulled from the fields of Physical Science, Life Science, and Earth, and Space Science. Each discipline is subdivided into several Core Ideas, each of which contains multiple performance expectations. Each test item assesses one performance expectation. Items may require recalling knowledge, applying knowledge and skills, or reasoning. The number of test items per Core Idea is proportional to the number of performance expectations within the Core Idea. As a result, each Core Idea will have about 2–5 items on a given test.

The Science test is designed to assess the high school performance expectations in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS performance expectations state what all learners should be able to do in order to demonstrate their understanding of science.
  • Each NGSS performance expectation integrates a Science and Engineering Practice, one or more Disciplinary Core.
  • Ideas, and a Crosscutting Concept. Each NGSS performance expectation also includes a Science and Engineering.
  • Practice, one or more Disciplinary Core Ideas, and a Crosscutting Concept. Each NGSS performance expectation includes a Clarification Statement and an Assessment Boundary to provide further information for the purposes of curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
A given test will not necessarily include items for every performance expectation present in the NGSS, though any performance expectation is potentially assessable. Answering these questions requires a combination of excellent reading skills, specific knowledge, and the ability to interpret scientific data. Data may be presented in paragraph form and in graphs, maps, tables, figures, and charts.

The Science test will not include test items to directly assess the performance expectations in the Core Idea of Engineering Design. However, some performance expectations in Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Earth and Space Sciences integrate engineering through a Practice or Disciplinary Core Idea. Items aligned to those performance expectations may require examinees to demonstrate their understanding of science through the application of the engineering design process; such as defining and delimiting a problem, designing solutions to a problem, and evaluating and optimizing design solutions.