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List of Benchmarks for Science

Standard 7.Understands biological evolution and the diversity of life
  Level Pre-K (Grade Pre-K)
   1. Knows simple ways that living things can be grouped (e.g., appearance, behavior, plant, animal)
  Level I (Grade K-2)
   1. Knows that some kinds of organisms that once lived on Earth have completely disappeared (e.g., dinosaurs, trilobites, mammoths, horsetail trees)
   2. Knows that there are similarities and differences in the appearance and behavior of plants and animals
  Level II (Grade 3-5)
   1. Knows that fossils can be compared to one another and to living organisms to observe their similarities and differences
   2. Knows different ways in which living things can be grouped (e.g., plants/animals, bones/no bones, insects/spiders, live on land/live in water) and purposes of different groupings  A 
  Level III (Grade 6-8)
   1. Knows basic ideas related to biological evolution (e.g., diversity of species is developed through gradual processes over many generations; biological adaptations, such as changes in structure, behavior, or physiology, allow some species to enhance their reproductive success and survival in a particular environment)  A 
   2. Knows that the fossil record, through geologic evidence, documents the appearance, diversification, and extinction of many life forms  A 
   3. Understands the concept of extinction and its importance in biological evolution (e.g., when the environment changes, the adaptive characteristics of some species are insufficient to allow their survival; extinction is common; most of the species that have lived on the Earth no longer exist)
   4. Knows evidence that supports the idea that there is unity among organisms despite the fact that some species look very different (e.g., similarity of internal structures in different organisms, similarity of chemical processes in different organisms, evidence of common ancestry)  A 
   5. Knows ways in which living things can be classified (e.g., taxonomic groups of plants, animals, and fungi; groups based on the details of organisms’ internal and external features; groups based on functions served within an ecosystem such as producers, consumers, and decomposers)  A 
  Level IV (Grade 9-12)
   1. Knows that heritable characteristics, which can be biochemical and anatomical, largely determine what capabilities an organism will have, how it will behave, and how likely it is to survive and reproduce
   2. Understands the concept of natural selection (e.g., when an environment changes, some inherited characteristics become more or less advantageous or neutral, and chance alone can result in characteristics having no survival or reproductive value; this process results in organisms that are well suited for survival in particular environments)
   3. Knows how variation of organisms within a species increases the chance of survival of the species, and how the great diversity of species on Earth increases the chance of survival of life in the event of major global changes
   4. Knows that the basic idea of evolution is that the Earth’s present-day life forms have evolved from earlier, distinctly different species as a consequence of the interactions of (1) the potential for a species to increase its numbers, (2) the genetic variability of offspring due to mutation and recombination of genes, (3) a finite supply of the resources required for life, and (4) the ensuing selection by the environment of those offspring better able to survive and leave offspring  A 
   5. Knows the history of the origin and evolution of life on Earth (e.g., life on Earth is thought to have begun 3.5-4 billion years ago as simple, unicellular organisms; cells with nuclei evolved about a billion years ago, after which increasingly complex multicellular organisms evolved)  A 
   6. Knows how natural selection and its evolutionary consequences provide a scientific explanation for the diversity and unity of past and present life forms on Earth (e.g., recurring patterns of relationship exist throughout the fossil record; molecular similarities exist among the diverse species of living organisms; the millions of different species living today appear to be related by descent from common ancestors)  A 
   7. Knows how organisms are classified into a hierarchy of groups and subgroups based on similarities that reflect their evolutionary relationships (e.g., shared derived characteristics inherited from a common ancestor; degree of kinship estimated from the similarity of DNA sequences)

 A  = Assessment items available