BOX 5–8 Cognitive Complexity of Science Tasks

Baxter and Glaser (1998) studied matches and mismatches between the intentions of test developers and the nature of cognitive activity elicited in an assessment situation. The Connecticut Common Core of Learning Assessment Project developed a number of content-rich, process-constrained tasks around major topics in science. Baxter and Glaser analyzed a task that asked high school students to write an explanation in response to the following: “For what would you want your blood checked if you were having a transfusion?” (Lomask, Baron, Greig, and Harrison, 1992). Concept maps were developed for scoring student explanations. The expert’s (teacher’s) concept map below served as a template against which students’ performances were evaluated.

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