Journal of Science Teacher Education

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 347–366

Using Educative Assessments to Support Science Teaching for Middle School English-language Learners

  • Cory A. Buxton
  • Martha Allexsaht-Snider
  • Regina Suriel
  • Shakhnoza Kayumova
  • Youn-jeng Choi
  • Bobette Bouton
  • Melissa Baker
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10972-012-9329-5

Cite this article as:
Buxton, C.A., Allexsaht-Snider, M., Suriel, R. et al. J Sci Teacher Educ (2013) 24: 347. doi:10.1007/s10972-012-9329-5

Abstract

Grounded in Hallidayan perspectives on academic language, we report on our development of an educative science assessment as one component of the language-rich inquiry science for English-language learners teacher professional learning project for middle school science teachers. The project emphasizes the role of content-area writing to support teachers in diagnosing their students’ emergent understandings of science inquiry practices, science content knowledge, and the academic language of science, with a particular focus on the needs of English-language learners. In our current school policy context, writing for meaningful purposes has received decreased attention as teachers struggle to cover large numbers of discrete content standards. Additionally, high-stakes assessments presented in multiple-choice format have become the definitive measure of student science learning, further de-emphasizing the value of academic writing for developing and expressing understanding. To counter these trends, we examine the implementation of educative assessment materials—writing-rich assessments designed to support teachers’ instructional decision making. We report on the qualities of our educative assessment that supported teachers in diagnosing their students’ emergent understandings, and how teacher–researcher collaborative scoring sessions and interpretation of assessment results led to changes in teachers’ instructional decision making to better support students in expressing their scientific understandings. We conclude with implications of this work for theory, research, and practice.

Keywords

AssessmentEnglish-language learnersMiddle school

Supplementary material

10972_2012_9329_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (3.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 3597 kb)
10972_2012_9329_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (499 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 499 kb)
10972_2012_9329_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (99 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 100 kb)
10972_2012_9329_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (4.1 mb)
Supplementary material 4 (PDF 4163 kb)

Copyright information

© The Association for Science Teacher Education, USA 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cory A. Buxton
    • 1
  • Martha Allexsaht-Snider
    • 1
  • Regina Suriel
    • 2
  • Shakhnoza Kayumova
    • 1
  • Youn-jeng Choi
    • 1
  • Bobette Bouton
    • 3
  • Melissa Baker
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.University of ConnecticutMansfieldUSA
  3. 3.Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA