Introduction of New Techniques to Assess a Student's Learning of Science

Association of Educators
December 18, 2013 — 1,025 views  

An elite panel of the National Research Council in the United States has come out with a proposal to significantly alter the way students are assessed in the three streams of sciences at their school. It wants the states to design a testing system that ensures all facets of science learning which integrates the classroom level tests with a particular test that measures the students' overall aptitude for the sciences.

This step is conspicuously different from the prevailing method of assessing the students which was mainly intended to test the students' knowledge of the facts of science. It was done by conducting a state-wide test on an annual basis.

Three Sources

The three sources from where the states needed to obtain the feedback, which were recommended by the panel to measure the learning of science by a student, were:

  • Classroom Based Assessment

This involves how the students approach their learning of science. This includes the way they analyze the data, develop arguments written and orally, and other means by which they develop their scientific temper.

  • Monitoring Tests

These are the tests the state conducts which help in assessing how a student has learned the facts of science over a period of a year. These tests will include both objective and subjective questions which will test the overall aptitude of the student.

  • Collection of Information from the Schools

Here the states collect data from the schools which talks about the resources available that impact the chance of students to learn science in a manner which is clearly laid out in the framework of the National Research Council. It includes the material available to learn science like the library, the level of expertise of the teachers.

Need for Change in Assessment

The need for this drastic change in the way science is taught and assessed in the country came about as the panel studied the report of the NRC which stated this urgent requirement of thorough “rethinking” of the assessment. Just a mere tinkering would not have sufficed. The demand for a multiple assessment is the need of the hour which would help students in demonstrating their competence for a given grade level.

Since the report was written by some of the best qualified and competent panel of science experts, there were hardly any doubts about its credibility.

Association of Educators