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Affordances and Constraints of Using the Socio-Political Debate for Authentic Summative Assessment
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4615-3646
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
2015 (English)In: International Journal of Science Education, ISSN 0950-0693, E-ISSN 1464-5289, Vol. 37, no 15, 2577-2596 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article reports from an empirical study on the affordances and constraints for using staged socio-political debates for authentic summative assessment of scientific literacy. The article focuses on conditions for student participation and what purposes emerge in student interaction in a socio-political debate. As part of the research project, a socio-political debate was designed for assessing student competences of scientific literacy in classroom practices. The debate centred on a fictive case about a lake where a decline in the yield of fish had been established. The students were assigned the task of participating in the debate from appointed roles as different stakeholders. Data were collected with video recordings of the enacted student debates. Student participation was analysed with the theoretical framework of communities of practice. The results show that multiple conflicting purposes of the socio-political debate as an assessment task emerged. The emergent purposes were: (I) putting scientific knowledge on display versus staying true to one’s role, (II) putting scientific knowledge on display versus expressing social responsibility, (III) putting scientific knowledge on display versus winning the debate, (IV) using sources tactically versus using sources critically. As these purposes emerged in classroom practice, tensions between different ways of enacting participation in the debates became manifest. Based on these findings, this paper discusses the affordances and constraints for using a socio-political debate for classroom-based assessment of scientific literacy and argumentation in terms of validity, reliability and affordability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 37, no 15, 2577-2596 p.
Keyword [en]
authentic assessment, argumentation, communities of practice, scientific literacy, citizenship, validity, reliability
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Science Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119872DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2015.1087068ISI: 000362725500008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-119872DiVA: diva2:849109
Available from: 2015-08-27 Created: 2015-08-27 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Assessing Scientific Literacy as Participation in Civic Practices: Affordances and constraints for developing a practice for authentic classroom assessment of argumentation, source critique and decision-making
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessing Scientific Literacy as Participation in Civic Practices: Affordances and constraints for developing a practice for authentic classroom assessment of argumentation, source critique and decision-making
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis takes a departure from a view of scientific literacy as situated in participation in civic practices. From such a view, it becomes problematic to assess scientific literacy through decontextualised test items only dealing with single aspects of participation in contexts concerned with science. Due to the complexity of transferring knowledge, it is problematic to assume that people who can explain scientific theories will automatically apply those theories in life or that knowledge will influence those people’s behaviour. A common way to more fully include the complexity of using science in different practices is to focus participation around issues and study how students use multiple sources to reflect critically and ethically on that issue. However, participation is situated in practices and thus becomes something specific within those practices. For instance, shopping for groceries for the family goes beyond reflecting critically and ethically on health and environment since it involves considering the family economy and the personal tastes of the family members. I have consequently chosen to focus my studies on how to assess scientific literacy as participation in civic practices. The thesis describes a praxis development research study where I, in cooperation with teachers, have designed interventions of assessments in lower secondary science classrooms. In the research study I use the theory of Community of Practice and Expansive Learning to study affordances and constraints for assessing communication, source critique and decision-making in the science classroom. The affordances and constraints for students’ participation in assessments are studied through using a socio-political debate as an assessment tool. The affordances and constraints for communicating assessment are studied through peer assessments of experimental design. The affordances and constraints for teachers to expand their assessment repertoire are studied through assessment moderation meetings. Finally, the affordances and constraints for designing authentic assessments of scientific literacy are studied through a review of different research studies’ use of authenticity in science education. The studies show that tensions emerge between purposes of practices outside the classroom and practices inside the classroom that students negotiated when participating in the assessments. Discussion groups were influential on students’ decisions on how to use feedback. Feedback that was not used to amend the designs was still used to discuss what should count as quality of experiments. Teachers used the moderation meetings to refine their assessments and teaching. However, conflicting views of scientific literacy as either propositional or procedural knowledge were challenging to overcome. Different publications in science education research emphasised personal or cultural aspects of authenticity. The different uses of authenticity have implications for authentic assessments, regarding the affordances and constraints for how to reify quality from external practices and through students’ engagement in practices. The results of the studies point to gains of focussing the assessment on how students negotiate participation in different civic practices. However, this approach to assessment puts different demands on assessment design than assessments in which students’ participation is compared with predefined ideals for performance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Mathematics and Science Education, Stockholm University, 2015
Keyword
scientific literacy, assessment, authentic, communities of practice, expansive learning, argumentation, peer assessment, moderation meetings
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Science Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119866 (URN)978-91-7649-221-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-10-02, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Accepted. Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 3: Submitted. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2015-09-10 Created: 2015-08-27 Last updated: 2015-09-09Bibliographically approved

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