Specifically, additional highlights of the document include the following:

  • Research shows that regular and high-quality assessment in the classroom can have a positive effect on student achievement.

  • The information generated must be used to inform the teacher and/or the students in deciding the next step. The results provide effective assessment to improve learning and teaching.

  • Student participation is a key component of successful assessment strategies at every step. If students are to participate effectively in the process, they need to be clear about the target and the criteria for good work, to assess their own efforts in light of the criteria, and to share responsibility in taking action in light of the feedback.

  • Teachers need time and assistance in developing accurate and dependable assessments. Much of this assistance can be provided by creating settings in which teachers have opportunities to talk with one another about the quality of student work.

  • The essential support for teachers (for example, time and opportunities to work with other teachers) can be created at school level, but sometimes district and state-level resources are necessary.

  • It is necessary to align assessment in the classroom with externally developed examinations if the goals of science education are to be consistent and not confuse both teachers and students. At the very least, external examinations must not vitiate the goals of science education that are proffered in the Standards.

A major theme of this document is that improving the kind of assessment in the science classroom that leads to higher quality student work is not a matter solely of introducing new procedures, frameworks, techniques, rubrics, or guidelines. Because the kind of assessment described in this guide is so intricately rooted in how a teacher sees one's self (and is seen by the students), changing assessment practices in the ways suggested here is far from a mechanical act. A teacher, along with the students, becomes not only a judge of quality but also a designer of the plans necessary to meet the standards. For achievement to be raised, the teachers must help the students themselves learn how to make better judgments about the quality of their own work.

A contention in this document is that these kinds of changes in practice are intimately associated with how teachers view their own work as professionals. These changes will require fundamental reexamination of how teachers organize and conduct the class, as well as the kinds of relationships that are desired with students, school administrators, and parents. Redesigning classroom



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