According to the National Science Education Standards:
[Students need] to participate in the evaluation of scientific knowledge…. What data do we focus on first? What additional data do we consider? What patterns exist in the data? Are these patterns appropriate for this inquiry? What explanations account for the patterns? Is one explanation better than another? In supporting their explanations, students have drawn on evidence to derive a scientific claim. Students have assessed both the strengths and weaknesses of their claims.
Questions that could be used to assess students’ understanding after the investigation has been completed include the following:
Which data are important in establishing the evolutionary relationship between D. hanaulae and D. oahuensis (which have the same inversions but live on different islands)?
Which data are important in establishing the evolutionary relationship between D. hanaulae and D. obscuripes (which live on the same island but differ by one inversion)?
Students should be able to describe the methods they used to derive the phylogenetic trees generated during this exercise, how the data were analyzed, and what conclusions or generalizations can be drawn from the data. An advanced level of understanding would involve the ability to describe how the same species can appear in both data tables with quite different inversion data.
Students’ work throughout this investigation also can be evaluated on an ongoing basis through the use of a rubric such as the one on the following page. This rubric has been modified from one provided by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) for the assessment of student work in experimental science courses.