FIGURE 6.2 Content-process space of science assessments.

knowledge are conceptualized on a continuum from rich to lean (y axis). At one extreme are knowledge-rich tasks, tasks that require in-depth understanding of subject matter for their completion. At the other extreme are tasks that are not dependent on prior knowledge or related experiences; rather, performance is primarily dependent on the information given in the assessment situation. The task demands for process skills are conceptualized as a continuum from constrained to open (x axis). In open situations, explicit directions are minimized; students are expected to generate and carry out appropriate process skills for problem solution. In process-constrained situations, directions can be of two types: step-by-step, subject-specific procedures given as part of the task, or directions to explain the process skills that are necessary for task completion. In this situation, students are asked to generate explanations, an activity that does not require using the process skills. Assessment tasks can involve many possible combinations of content knowledge and process skills; Table 6.1 illustrates the relationship between the structure of knowledge and the organized cognitive activities.


New developments in the science of learning suggest that the degree to which environments are community centered is also important for learning. Especially important are norms for people learning from one another and continually attempting to improve. We use the term community centered to refer to several aspects of community, including the classroom as a commu-

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