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Knowledge About and Understanding of Science, Assessment of

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Assessing students’ science learning with respect to knowledge is done for a variety of purposes: formative, summative, and for accountability purposes (Bell 2007). It is the purposes for generating the assessment data which determines what kind of assessment task will be used. For example, written examinations and tests are most often used for assessment of science knowledge learning for summative purposes, as this produces a storable record. Oral conversations between teacher and student are often used for assessment of scientific knowledge for formative purposes, as the feedback and feedforward can be given while the student learning is occurring.

A key aspect of assessing students’ learning of scientific knowledge is to assess the extent to which students are able to use their newly acquired knowledge in situations other than the ones in which they learned the knowledge. The distinction between recall of knowledge and the use of that knowledge is made. For example, if students...

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  • New Zealand Ministry of Education. Assessment online. Accessed at on 28 June, 2012

  • Atkin JM, Black P, Coffey J (2001) Classroom assessment and the National Science Education Standards. Center for Education, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, DC

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  • Bell B (2007) Classroom assessment of science learning. In: Abdell S, Lederman N (eds) The handbook of research on science education. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

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Correspondence to Beverley Bell .

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© 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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Bell, B. (2014). Knowledge About and Understanding of Science, Assessment of. In: Gunstone, R. (eds) Encyclopedia of Science Education. Springer, Dordrecht.

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