The findings reported in this paper is part of an international project "Schools Around the World" (SAW) that aims to enhance teacher development in the area of assessing students' work in science. The aim of this paper is to review the current assessment practices that teachers adopt in science at both the primary and secondary levels. This review helps researchers and science educators to identify the needs of the teachers and chart out possible directions to improve the assessment of students' science learning in future. Moreover, drawing on the findings, the SAW project team may also identify ways of facilitating such changes. Teachers teaching primary four General Studies, secondary teachers teaching secondary two Science and secondary four Biology were interviewed. The interview questions focused on revealing their current practices in assigning students' work; factors influencing the assignment of students' work; performance criteria they set on students' work, feedback they provided for students, their views about science assessment and their opinions on alternative forms of science assessment. In this paper, students' work include all different forms of tasks that the teachers assign to students which may be formative or summative assessment tasks conducted during or after lessons. Findings reveal that homework in the form of written assignments, laboratory reports, workbooks and tests are at present the major forms of students' work, though the teachers realized the importance of project work and experimental work in science learning. Results also show that the teachers are ready for a change from the current practice to give more emphasis on project work and formative assessment tasks. In the SAW project, teachers are encouraged to attempt the use of alternative forms of students' work in assessing students' science learning and engage in professional discussion with teachers from other countries participating in the project. Copyright © 2000 HKIEd APFSLT.
|Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching
|Published - Dec 2000