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Assessing Student Understanding in Science

Assessing Student Understanding in Science
A Standards-Based K-12 Handbook

Second Edition

October 2009 | 216 pages | Corwin
Educators need a way to better assess science curriculum, teaching, and student learning to help our students become leaders, not just followers, in their technological future. Sandra Enger and Robert Yager, two experts in the field, provide the way. Comprehensive yet accessible, this book is packed full of methods for assessing the National Science Education Standards adopted by the National Research Councilùthe basis for most state and local standards. Alternative assessments, rubrics, grade level exemplars, and ideas for teachers to evaluate and improve their own curriculum and instruction make this practical hands-on guide a must. This book addresses critical issues of assessment including:Criteria to measure student progress in the six domains of science: concepts, processes, applications, attitude, the nature of science, and creativity Assessing student learning Evaluating teaching practice Designing rubrics and scoring guidesThis second edition of Assessing Student Understanding in Science: A Standards-Based Kû12 Handbook has been updated throughout and includes a new chapter on using notebooks in the science classroom, as well as extensive coverage of the use of formative assessment during science instruction.

About the Authors
1. A Framework for Assessing Student Understanding in Science
Assessment Based on Six Domains of Science

I. Conceptual Domain

II. Process Domain

III. Application Domain

IV. Attitude Domain

V. Creativity Domain

VI. Nature of Science Domain

Assessment Approaches Aligned With the Six Domains

2. Assessment in the Contexts of Teaching
Planning Instruction and Assessment

What Assessment Is

Formative and Summative Assessment

Assessment Types and Approaches

National Science Education Assessment Standards

Implementing Assessment Guidelines

The Internet as an Assessment Resource

3. Evaluating Teaching Practice
Action Research

Assessment of Classroom Practice With Video Recording Support

Sources of Instrumentation for Assessing Practice

Self-Assessment of Constructivist Practice

Science-as-Inquiry Surveys

4. Rubrics and Scoring Guides
Rubrics and Scoring Guides: What Are They?

Rubric Construction: A Teacher's Perspective

Rubric or Scoring Guide Design

Examples of Tasks and Rubrics

How Well Does a Rubric Communicate the Original Task?

5. Science Notebooks
Science Notebooks: Formative and Summative Assessment Tools

Notebook Scaffolds

Assessment Components for Notebooks

Supporting Graphing Skills and Abilities

6. Assessment Examples for All Grade Levels
Open-Ended Questions (Integrates Domains)

Student Laboratory Environment Inventory (Integrates Domains)

Ideas for Assessing in the Application Domain

Observation Checklist (Integrates Domains)

Use of Application-Level Multiple-Choice Questions

Examples for the Creativity Domain

Assessing Attitudes, Preferences, and Processes

7. Assessment Examples for Grades K Through 4
Applying Process Skills and Experimental Design

Application Assessment Items for Grades K Through 3

Assessing Attitudes About Science

Student Self-Assessment

Assessing Perceptions About Scientists

8. Assessment Examples for Grades 5 Through 8
Developing a Group Performance Task

Preparation for Standardized Tests

Electronic Portfolios for Students

Structuring Peer Assessment for Cooperative Groups

Class Assessment of Group Project Presentations

9. Assessment Examples for Grades 9 Through 12
Using the Student Laboratory Environment Inventory

Looking at Science Processes

Assessing Specific Areas of Understanding

Assessing Students' Views of the Scientific Process

Glossary of Assessment-Related Terminology

“In this second edition, Enger and Yager expand their previous work by suggesting new assessments and more clearly connecting their assessments with the National Science Education Standards. For classroom teachers, this book offers a range of suggestions that can enhance classroom instruction. For science teacher educators, this book is an invaluable and handy resource in working with beginning, new, or experienced science teachers.”

Julie A. Luft, Professor of Science Education
Arizona State University

"This valuable contribution to the field offers clear explanations and examples of different types of assessments and suggests very practical applications for teachers of all levels. The authors present some wonderfully creative approaches to assessment, going beyond the usual methods."

Petrina McCarthy, Science Teacher
Robert McQueen High School, Reno, NV

"The material enables readers to self-assess on many levels: their own understanding of assessment in general, how assessment looks within the science content, and the many different applications. The coverage appeals to science teachers at all levels and all disciplines."

Rachel Hull, Fourth-Grade Teacher
Buffalo Elementary School, WV

"Does an exceptional job of addressing the most controversial and misunderstood aspect of delivering quality science instruction. The six domains of quality science teaching are addressed with examples of what is included in each. The book clearly describes various types of assessments, with the advantages and disadvantages of each. It also provides numerous references on asessing students in science."

Fred D. Johnson, Retired Superintendent
Cordova, TN

“Drawing on the latest research, best practices, and the wisdom of practitioners from all levels of the education spectrum, this powerful, comprehensive document pinpoints and prioritizes our work to ensure a foundation for all classroom applications of assessments. This is an invaluable resource for educators, K-12."

Jack Rhoton, Executive Director, Center of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education
Professor of Science Education, East Tennessee State University

"This text offers information regarding the theory and real-world applications of a variety of assessments that can be used to address the unique standards of science education. The text addresses the need to assess all six domains of science literacy and offers tried-and-true methods and instruments that can be used to assess each domain. It does so by providing definitions of each domain and offering specific suggestions as to how the results can be used across the range of levels in our schools. The text is a wonderful collection of science-specific assessment information that can be used by those of us interested in assessing students and conducting research in K-12 science education."

David A. Wiley, Dean, College of Education and Human Services
Lenoir-Rhyne University

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