Publication details for Ros RobertsRoberts, R. & Gott, R. (2006). Assessment of Performance in Practical Science and Pupil Attributes. Assessment in Education 13(1): 45-67.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 0969-594X, 1465-329X
- DOI: 10.1080/09695940600563652
- Keywords: Procedural understanding.
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
Performance assessment in the UK science General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) currently relies on pupil reports of their investigations. These are widely criticized. Written tests of procedural understanding could be used as an alternative, but what exactly do they measure? This paper describes small-scale research in which there was an analysis of assessments of pupils' GCSE scores of substantive ideas, their coursework performance assessment and a novel written evidence test. Results from these different assessments were compared with each other and with baseline data on CAT scores and pupils' attributes. Significant predictors of performance on each of these assessments were determined. The data reported shows that a choice could be made between practical coursework that links to ‘behaviour’ and written evidence tests which link, albeit less strongly, with ‘quickness’. There would be differential effects on pupils.
APU (1985) Science at age 13 and 15: sample questions (London, DES).
Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) (website) Available online at: http://
www.aqa.org.uk/ (accessed 4 January 2006).
Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) (2002) General Certificate of Secondary Education,
Science: double award (Manchester, AQA).
Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) (2005) (website) Available online at: http://
www.aqa.org.uk/qual/gcse/scienceA.html (accessed 4 January 2006).
Baxter, G. P., Shavelson, R. J., Goldman, S. R. & Pine, J. (1992) Evaluation of procedure-based
scoring for hands-on assessment, Journal of Educational Measurement, 29(1), 1–17.
DfEE/QCA (1999) The Science National Curriculum (London, DfEE/QCA).
Donnelly, J. (2000) Secondary science teaching under the National Curriculum, School Science
Review, 81(296), 27–35.
Donnelly, J., Buchanan, A., Jenkins, E. & Welford, A. (1994) Investigations in science education
policy. Sc1 in the National Curriculum for England and Wales (Leeds, University of Leeds).
Duggan, S. & Gott, R. (2000) Intermediate General National Qualifications (GNVQ) Science: a
missed opportunity for a focus on procedural understanding? Research in Science and Technological
Education, 18(2), 201–214.
Gee, B. & Clackson, S. G. (1992) The origin of practical work in the English school science curriculum,
School Science Review, 73(265), 79–83.
Gott, R. & Duggan, S. (2002) Problems with the assessment of performance in practical science:
which way now? Cambridge Journal of Education, 32(2), 183–201.
Gott, R., Duggan, S. & Roberts, R. (website) Available online at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/richard.
gott/Evidence/cofev.htm (accessed 4 January 2006).
Gott, R. & Mashiter, J. (1991) Practical work in science—a task-based approach? in: B. E. Woolnough
(Ed.) Practical science (Buckingham, Open University Press), 53–66.
Gott, R. & Murphy, P. (1987) Assessing investigations at 13 and 15. Science report for teachers, no. 9
Gray, D. & Sharp, B. (2001) Mode of assessment and its effect on children’s performance in
science, Evaluation and Research in Education, 15(2), 55–68.
Harlen, W. (1999) Purposes and procedures for assessing science process skills, Assessment in
Education, 6(1), 129–144.
House of Commons, Science and Technology Committee (2002) Science education from 14 to 19.
Third report of session 2001-2, 1 (London, The Stationery Office).
Keiler, L. S. & Woolnough, B. E. (2002) Practical work in science: the dominance of assessment,
School Science Review, 83(304), 83–88.
Kjaernsli, M. & Lie, S. (2004) PISA and scientific literacy: similarlities and differences between
the Nordic countries, Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 48(3), 271–286.
Lattin, J. M. (2003) Cluster analysis, in: J. M. Lattin, D. Carroll & P. E. Green (Eds) Analyzing
multivariate data (London, Thomas Brooks/Cole), 264–309.
Lawrenz, F., Huffman, D. & Welch, W. (2001) The science achievement of various subgroups on
alternative assessment format, Science Education, 85(3), 279–290.
Lazarowitz, R. & Tamir, P. (1994) Research on using laboratory instruction in science, in: D. L.
Gabel (Ed.) Handbook of research on science teaching and learning (New York, Macmillan),
Lederman, N. G., Wade, P. D. & Bell, R. L. (1998) Assessing the nature of science: what is the
nature of our assessments? Science and Education, 7, 595–615.
Lomask, M. S., Baron, J. B. & Greig, J. (1998) Large-scale science performance assessment in
Connecticut: challenges and resolutions, in: B. Fraser & K. Tobin (Eds) International handbook
of science education. Part 2. (Dordrecht, Kluwer), 823–844.
Murphy, P. & Gott, R. (1984) Science report for teachers: 2. Science assessment framework: age 13 and
15 (London, HMSO/ASE).
OECD (1999) Measuring student knowledge and skills: a new framework for assessment (Paris, OECD).
OECD (2001) Knowledge and skills for life: first results from the OECD Programme for International
Student Assessment (PISA) 2000 (Paris, OECD).
Orpwood, G. (2001) The role of assessment in science curriculum reform, Assessment in Education,
QCA (2002) National Curriculum Assessments from 2003, Letter from QCA to all Heads of Science
QCA (2004) Reforming Science Education for the 21st century: a commentary on the new GCSE criteria
for awarding bodies.
Roberts, R. & Gott, R. (2003) Assessment of biology investigations, Journal of Biological Education,
Roberts, R. & Gott, R. (2004) A written test for procedural understanding: a way forward for
assessment in the UK science curriculum? Research in Science and Technological Education,
Solano-Flores, G., Jovanovic, J., Shavelson, R. J. & Bachman, M. (1999) On the development and
evaluation of a shell for generating science performance assessments, International Journal of
Science Education, 21(3), 293–315.
Stark, R. (1999) Measuring science standards in Scottish schools: the assessment of achievement
programme, Assessment in Education, 6(1), 27–42.
Thorndike, R. L. & Hagen, E. (1973) Cognitive Abilities Test (Windsor, NFER-Nelson).
Thorndike, R. L. & Hagen, E. (1986) Cognitive Abilities Test levels A to F (2nd edn) (Windsor,
Turmo, A. (2004) Scientific literacy and socio-economic background among 15-year-olds—a
Nordic perspective, Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 48(3), 287–305.
Watson, R., Goldsworthy, A. & Wood-Robinson, V. (1999) What is not fair with investigations?
School Science Review, 80(292), 101–106.
Welford, G., Harlen, W. & Schofield, B. (1985) Practical testing at Ages 11, 13 and 15 (London,