Table 4-1. Assessment Formats and Procedures

 

Formats

multiple choice, true/false, matching

constructed response, essays

investigations, research reports, projects

portfolios, journals, lab notebooks

Amount of time

typically ~1 min

2-3 min with justifications

1-2 min short answers

5-15 min open-ended responses

days, weeks, or months

months or even years

Whose questions? (audience for the answer)

anonymous or the teacher’s

anonymous or the teacher’s

the teacher’s or the student’s

the teacher’s or the student’s

What kind of questions?

posed narrowly

posed narrowly

posed more openly

varies

Source of answer

anonymous or the teacher’s

the student’s

the student’s

the student’s

What kind of answers?

right/wrong

extent of correctness

standards or criteria for quality

standards or criteria for quality

Resources available during assessment

usually none

none or some equipment

equipment, references

equipment, references

Opportunity for feedback, revision

none

usually none

usually some from teachers and peers

usually some from teachers and peers

familiar formats of multiple choice, constructed response, projects, and portfolios, are displayed in Table 4-1. The challenge for teachers increases from the left side of the table to the right, as the products of assessment go from being right or wrong to having qualities that must be negotiated with other members of the school community. In other words, what are the teacher’s, the school’s, or the science community’s criteria for an excellent response to a particular question?

Discussions among teachers at a school or district level, calibrated with the participation of outsiders, are a component of most effective assessment systems. As Daro (1996, p. 260) puts it:

If standards are to have any real consequence, it will have to be



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement