PDI-10: Effective Formative Assessment in Science: Teachers' Skills, Understanding, and Actions
Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Location: Philadelphia Marriott Hotel, Room 410
Recommended Pathway Sessions
Facet Innovations, Seattle Pacific University, and the University of Washington
Ruth Anderson, Educational Researcher, Facet Innovations, Seattle
Min Li, Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Washington
Jim Minstrell, Senior Research Scientist, Facet Innovations, Seattle
Eric Magi, Science Coordinator, Spokane School District
Stamatis Vokos, Professor of Physics, Seattle Pacific University
- What is diagnostic formative assessment in science learning?
- How might teachers and professional development providers identify teacher's skills in diagnostic formative assessment?
- How might we help teachers identify (or diagnose) the cognitive or experiential learning needs of students?
- How can we help teachers revise, adapt, or design curricular lessons and instruction to address students' learning needs in science?
- What tools are available to support teachers who have or want to develop a diagnostic formative assessment perspective?
Skillfully applied formative assessment has been found to be one of the most powerful strategies for effecting better learning. Formative assessment is not simply giving a pretest. It can be used periodically or even continually to monitor student thinking and guide subsequent activities. Formative assessment can be more than just finding out whether student answers are right or wrong. It can be diagnostic to find out what are the problematic aspects of student's thinking. Then instruction can be tuned to address problematic aspects of the thinking. In this session participants will have the opportunity to learn when and how to make formative assessment more diagnostic. We will consider the different cognitive or experiential needs associated with different diagnoses, and we will examine how to make our feedback or activities more tuned to address problematic thinking and to promote conceptual understanding more consistent with science. Finally, the presenters will share the tools on www.Diagnoser.com designed to support teachers who are implementing a more diagnostic learning environment.
While the techniques can be used by teachers in any educational setting and at any level of learning, most of the exercises and examples will be from the physical sciences and from school environments from grade six through twelve. The session will be prepared particularly for teacher leaders, for science coaches, and for professional developers who are interested in promoting teacher learning and in effecting, research-based practices in the classroom. For a sample of the work on which this PDI will be based, please see From Practice to Research and Back: Perspectives and Tools in Assessing for Learning (Chapter 3 in Assessing Science Learning: Perspectives from Research and Practice published by NSTA Press, 2008.)
The presenters have conducted research in learner cognition in science, and have studied and developed learning environments in classrooms and for online diagnostic assessment and learning. Their research and development span over three decades of study. The work has benefited from past funding by National Institute of Education and the James S. McDonnell Foundation Program of Cognitive Studies for Education. Past funding has also come from the National Science Foundation which is presently funding our research on teachers' understanding and practice of formative assessment, development of tools for diagnostic formative assessment, and providing professional development for improving science content knowledge and pedagogical skills in science teaching.