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Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A Guide for Teaching and Learning
fundamental understandings about inquiry or a subject matter concept?
Do the activities incorporate all five essential features of classroom inquiry described in Chapter 2? Are suggestions provided to help the teacher keep students focused on the purpose of the lesson?
Does the teacher’s guide present common student difficulties in developing inquiry abilities and understandings? Does it suggest possible alternative conceptions or misconceptions students may have and how to address them? Are suggestions provided for teachers to find out what their student already know and can do? Are there learning activities designed to help students identify what they know and build new concepts and abilities?
Assessment criteria in this section are grounded in the Assessment Standards A to E. Examine several lessons in the student and teacher materials for evidence to answer the following questions:
Is there consistency between learning goals and assessment? For example, if instruction focuses on building and understanding fundamental concepts, do assessments focus on explanations and not on vocabulary?
Do assessments stress application of abilities and concepts to new or different situations? For example, are the students asked to explain new situations with concepts they have learned? Are they asked to design investigations into questions they have not yet addressed?
Are assessment tasks fair for all students? For example, does success on assessment tasks depend too heavily on the student’s ability to read complex items or write explanations, as opposed to understanding the fundamental concepts or being able to think scientifically?
Are suggestions for scoring criteria or rubrics provided for the teacher?