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Improving Science Assessments

Training

  • How Different Types of Knowledge Are Assessed

    Effectively assessing different types of knowledge requires asking students to complete different types of tasks. This interactive module helps you identify the types of tasks best used to assess declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge, and problem solving. It also describes the types of tasks associated with higher levels of cognitive complexity. Issues related to selecting tasks that align with standards are introduced, and guidelines for creating performance objectives are provided. Begin working with this module…

  • Complex Assessment in Science Education

    Complex assessments are used to estimate a learner's proficiency with competencies that cannot be evaluated using conventional written tests, such as those widely used in large-scale testing programs. Complex assessments can be uniquely used to measure competencies involving problem solving, such as creating a plan for carrying out a scientific investigation. They are essential for measuring complex procedural knowledge, such as formulating scientifically testable questions, or complex declarative knowledge, such as explaining relationships between biotic and abiotic factors in an ecosystem.

    Dr. Albert Oosterhof used the following PowerPoint slides during an assessment workshop for science teachers. Participants had previously completed the accompanying training module on How Different Types of Knowledge Are Assessed. During the workshop, teachers used this background to create assessment tasks relevant to their students and to practice using performance assessment specifications to produce and score complex assessments. Begin viewing the slides…

  • Formative Assessment of Cognitively Complex Science Competencies

    The 2012 Florida Center for Research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics conference was held in St. Petersburg, Florida, in December. CALA’s session, “Formative Assessment of Cognitively Complex Science Competencies,” focused on learning progressions, which are sequences of learning goals that help students achieve a complex target competency. Learning progressions describe the subskills and enabling knowledge that students need to achieve the target competency. Moreover, they suggest strategies for instruction and formative assessment of learning goals and the target competency by elucidating desired outcomes of instruction. View the presentation…

  • Using Feedback with Formative Assessments

    Feedback, in the context of a formative assessment, pertains to information conveyed with the intent of modifying a learner’s thinking or behavior with the purpose of improving learning. Our present focus is on feedback from the teacher to a student, although it can involve feedback from one student to another, or from a student to the teacher. This module uses the results of two fairly recent and important research reviews that describe emerging patterns of feedback that will help structure our discussion. Begin working with the module…

  • Formative Feedback

    Shute (2008) defines formative feedback as information provided to learners in order to modify their thinking or behavior and thus improve learning. Effective feedback has been shown to support learning across diverse content areas, knowledge and skill types, and levels of education (Black & Wiliam, 1998). However, crafting and delivering good feedback is not as easy as it may seem, as illustrated by misconceptions and practices inconsistent with best practices that have been identified through research.

    The following PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Valerie Shute and Umit Tokac covers topics related to formative feedback, specifically in relation to types and timing of feedback and the interaction of these elements with students' abilities. Begin working through this presentation…