The Role of Assessment in Improving Science Education: An International Perspective

Friday, 13 February 2015: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Room LL21F (San Jose Convention Center)
Jonathan Osborne, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
The teaching and learning of science is dependent on curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.  In an era of high stakes assessment, the intentions about what should be taught are often read from the assessments and not curriculum documents.  As a consequence, it is assessments that often define what is important and what is taught. Moreover, the outcomes of assessment are increasingly being measured to define the performance of the system such as the assessments used for NAEP or the OECD PISA tests.

Sadly, however, research on assessment has been limited and it is often treated as an afterthought.  This is a particular challenge for the Next Generation Science Standards which will require new forms of assessment.   In this talk, the nature of different forms of assessment will be presented and the lessons that have been learnt from their use both nationally and internationally. A particularly difficult issue for many countries is whether to assess practical competence with laboratory inquiry.

A focus of the talk will be the nature of the assessments to be used in the OECD PISA tests in 2015.  This year, science will be the primary focus of these assessments and the nature of scientific competence that they seek to assess internationally will be explored.