Next Generation Science Assessment: Putting Research into Classroom Practice

Next Generation Science Assessment: Putting Research into Classroom Practice

Edward G. Lyon
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4502-8.ch093
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The recent release of science education documents such as A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (National Research Council, 2012) marks the transition into a new generation of science education. This transition necessitates a close look at how pre-college science teachers will assess a diverse group of students in ways that are consistent with science education reform. In this chapter, the authors identify current research in science assessment and employ assessment coherence, assessment use, and assessment equity as guiding principles to address the challenges of putting science assessment research into classroom practice. To exemplify these challenges, they describe a study where a research instrument designed to measure scientific reasoning skills was translated into a high school science classroom assessment. The goal of this chapter is to stimulate conversation in the science education community (researchers, assessment developers, teacher educators, administrators, and classroom teachers) about how to put science assessment research successfully into practice and to describe what next steps need to be taken, particularly around assessing diverse student populations.
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What To Assess In Science Classrooms? A Starting Point

The essence of any science classroom assessment is to elicit and be able to interpret some desirable information about what students are being, or will be, taught. If the desirable information is whether students know the definition of the word “adaptation,” then the assessment could ask students to write out the definition of adaptation, or have them select from a list of definitions. However, the next generation of science education is not about preparing students to recite definitions, but rather preparing scientifically literate students. Scientific literacy has been conceptualized in a variety of ways, primarily referring to being “knowledgeable, learned, and educated in science” (Phillips & Norris, p. 224), a conceptualization that, unfortunately, often overlooks reading and writing in science, a fundamental sense of literacy. I appropriate the term scientific literacy broadly to encompass how various science education documents and frameworks describe what is important to learn in science education.

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