Education 65.04/67.04/613.1 (Science Education)
Professor J L Lemke

Assignment # 2: Assessment and Testing


To create a full-period written classroom test in the context of an awareness of current issues in student assessment in science education. Methods of testing are currently undergoing a period of significant change and you need to be prepared to deal with forms of testing that will be considered valid and reliable in the years ahead.


Part 1. Alternative Assessment and Education Standards -- DUE March 31

Write a 4-6 page (typed) report on new directions and current ideas and emphases in the area of student assessment in science education. Base your report on (a) one or more WWW sites which offer information or suggestions on how to evaluate student achievement in science and/or new standards for achievement that would form the criteria for assessment and testing; (b) one or more research articles published in professional research journals relevant to this topic.

Part 2. A Balanced Full-Period Written Classroom Test -- DUE April 21

Write a full-period written classroom test designed to assess student learning in science over the course of a unit (2-4 weeks of the curriculum). No less than 20% and no more than 40% of the time or points for the test should be based on multiple-choice items. Of these at least half should clearly test logical reasoning rather than memory. You should also include at least one graphical or diagrammatic item, and at least three items for which students need to write out full-sentence answers and or show their problem-solving work. For each item give at least one correct answer and show the number of points for that item.


Part 1. On the web, in ERIC, and in the professional literature, look up the topics of Alternative Assessment, Authentic Assessment, Portfolio Assessment, National Science Standards. Discuss one or two of these topics as related to student assessment in the science classroom, based on Product: Part 1 (a) and (b) above. Describe some of the advantages and disadvantages of newer methods compared to traditional classroom science tests: for teachers, for students, for fairness in testing and achievement in learning. See also: Classnotes on Alternative Assessment Issues.

Part 2. Choose a specific science topic or unit. Group test items with the same format together. Use a variety of different formats (at least 3). Arrange items within groups and from the beginning of the test to the end in order of increasing difficulty, starting with easier items. Create items that test different kinds of thinking skills, that are of varying degrees of difficulty, and have different item formats. Include clear instructions to students on how to complete each section of the test. Make sure that each item has one and only one correct answer if it is to be scored as correct vs. incorrect, and that you have some criteria for assigning partial credit to other items. Refer to Product: Part 2 above for the types and proportions of different items and assessment functions for the test. Do not try to imitate current standardized tests or examinations unless you are sure that they meet the requirements of this assignment.. Follow the guidelines in Notes on Testing.