This paper reports on the development of a digital system to assess secondary school students’ scientific enquiry skills as an alternative to current modes of assessment at GCSE-level (age 16) in England. Part of the larger ‘e-scape’ project comprising parallel developments in design & technology and geography, the research has focussed upon the development of a controlled assessment activity undertaken by students in a three-hour period, using hand-held digital devices to record their responses using text, digital photographs, drawings, spreadsheets, video and audio commentary. Following trialling with 135 students in 3 schools, a team of 6 judges were invited to assess the resulting electronic portfolios using a ‘Thurstone pairs’ approach (Greatorex et al. 2008), yielding a rank order with an acceptably low error value and moderate correlation with predicted GCSE grades for the students concerned. Moreover, judges, teachers involved in trialling and students viewed the activity and assessment system as more motivating and potentially more valid in capturing scientific capability than existing modes of practical assessment in use in England. Awarding bodies (examination boards) are currently evaluating this development work with a view to introducing alternative forms of ‘e-portfolio’ assessment in the future.
|Title of host publication||Contemporary science education research: learning and assessment|
|Subtitle of host publication||Proceedings of ESERA 2009|
|Editors||G Cakmakci, M. F. Taşar|
|Place of Publication||Ankara|
|Publisher||Pegem Akademi Yayıncılık|
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2010|