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In Pursuit of Authenticity in Assessment of Scientific Literacy
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.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this article we present a systematic review of how authenticity is used in science education research and discuss the implications these uses have for designing authentic classroom assessments. Authenticity of assessments have been discussed in education generally for decades, and depending on what is regarded as authentic science, assessment in science education becomes different. In this article we review research articles published between 2013 and 2014, in the three highest ranking journals in science education, regarding how authenticity is framed in science education. Our findings suggest that the uses vary greatly from referring to externally defined practices to student relevance. The findings are discussed with the notions of cultural and personal authenticity to suggest important aspects involved with designing science classroom assessments authentic to the different references. As a conclusion, we present a strategy for balancing assessment between cultural and personal authenticity.

Keyword [en]
authenticity, assessment, scientific literacy, review
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Science Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119876OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-119876DiVA: diva2:849119
Available from: 2015-08-27 Created: 2015-08-27 Last updated: 2016-01-29Bibliographically 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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