findings from cognitive science and classroom practice. Students and teachers in these environments use technology to conduct research, solve problems, analyze data, interact with others, track progress, present their results, and accomplish other goals. Typically, these environments emphasize learning through the processes of inquiry and collaborative, problem-based learning, and their learning goals are generally consistent with those discussed in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2000) mathematics standards and the NRC (1996) science standards. In many ways, they also go beyond current standards by emphasizing new learning outcomes students need to master to perform competently in an information society.
In these environments, it is not uncommon for learners to form live and on-line communities of practice, evaluating their own and each others’ reasoning, hypotheses, and work products. These programs also tend to have multiple learning goals; in addition to teaching students important concepts in biology, physics, or earth science, for example, they may seek to teach students to think, work, and communicate as scientists do. These environments, examples of which are described below, illustrate the importance of carefully designed assessment to an effective learning environment (NRC, 1999d) and show how technology makes possible the integration of assessment with instruction in powerful ways.
SMART Model An example of embedding assessment strategies within extended-inquiry activities can be found in work pursued by the Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt University (CTGV) on the development of a conceptual model for integrating curriculum, instruction, and assessment in science and mathematics (Barron et al., 1995; CTGV, 1994, 1997). The resultant SMART (Scientific and Mathematical Arenas for Refining Thinking) Model incorporates frequent opportunities for formative assessment by both students and teachers, and reflects an emphasis on self-assessment to help students develop the ability to monitor their own understanding and find resources to deepen it when necessary (Vye et al., 1998). The SMART Model involves the explicit design of multiple cycles of problem solving, self-assessment, and revision in an overall problem-based to project-based learning environment.
Activity in the problem-based learning portion of SMART typically begins with a video problem scenario, for example, from the Adventures of Jasper Woodbury mathematics problem-solving series (CTGV, 1997) or the Scientists in Action series. An example of the latter is the Stones River Mystery (Sherwood, Petrosino, Lin, and CTGV, 1998), which tells the story of a group of high school students who, in collaboration with a biologist and a