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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. ES1 9618770 and NCC5-247 between the National Academy of Sciences, National Science Foundation, and NASA, respectively. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Classroom assessment and the National Science Education Standards / Committee on Classroom Assessment and the National Science Education Standards ; J. Myron Atkin, Paul Black, Janet Coffey, editors.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-309-06998-X (pbk.)
1. Science—Ability testing—United States. 2. Science—Study and teaching—United States—Evaluation. 3. Science—Study and teaching—Standards—United States. I. Atkin, J. Myron. II. Black, Paul. III. Coffey, Janet. IV. National Research Council (U.S.).
Committee on Classroom Assessment and the National Science Education Standards.
LB1585.3 .C54 2001
Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2001). Classroom assessment and the National Science Education Standards. Committee on Classroom Assessment and the National Science Education Standards. J. Myron Atkin, Paul Black, and Janet Coffey (Eds.). Center for Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
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Copyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
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The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE ON CLASSROOM ASSESSMENT AND THE NATIONAL SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS
J. Myron Atkin, Chair, Professor of Education,
Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Paul Black, Emeritus Professor of Science Education,
King's College, London, England
Kathleen Comfort, Director,
the Partnership for the Assessment of Standards-Based Science, WestEd, San Francisco, CA
Carolyn Ray, Director,
Cleveland Municipal School District, Cleveland, OH
Rachel Wood, Science Specialist,
Science Frameworks Commission, Delaware Department of Public Instruction, Dover, DE
National Research Council Staff
Jan Tuomi, Center for Education,
Senior Program Officer
Janet Coffey, Center for Education,
Doug Sprunger, Center for Education,
Senior Project Assistant
Yvonne Wise, Center for Education,
Reports and Editorial Associate
The Committee on Science Education K-12 (COSE K-12) is a group of volunteer advisors within the National Research Council's (NRC) Center for Education (CFE). Since the publication of the National Science Education Standards (the Standards) in 1996, an important part of the mission of COSE K-12 has been to monitor and analyze the application and impact of the Standards on the practices, programs, and policies of American science education. The Standards were developed over the course of four years, involving tens of thousands of educators and scientists in extensive comment and review. The resultant standards offered advice to be applied voluntarily by educators and policymakers persuaded by the vision of effective science education for all students and by the credibility of the authors and the processes used to reach consensus. It became apparent to the members of COSE K-12 that the necessarily broad, visionary nature of the Standards did not provide sufficient guidance or develop a sufficiently deep understanding of key topics needed for implementation.
The highest priority topics requiring more detail and guidance were identified as:
scientific inquiry as content as well as an approach to teaching science,
assessment by teachers and the students to improve learning,
the place for technology in the science curriculum,
selection and identification of effective instructional materials aligned with standards, and
development of a coherent science program for 13 years of schooling.
For each topic, a group of experts was convened with an appropriate balance of viewpoint, experience, and expertise in the research base. Each group was charged to develop a publication that developed a deeper
understanding of the topic, compiled and analyzed research and resources, and provided guidance for implementation through programs and policies at the local level.
This volume addresses the second point and joins a series published within the last two years including: Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards (NRC, 2000), Selecting Instructional Materials: A Guide for K-12 Science (NRC, 1999), and Designing Mathematics or Science Curriculum Programs: A Guide for Using Mathematics and Science Education Standards (NRC, 1999). COSE K-12 also developed a guide for parents and other community members entitled Every Child a Scientist: Achieving Scientific Literacy for All (NRC, 1998), which was concerned with the improvement of science education and addressed common questions, as well as promoted informed local action. These and all publications of the National Academy Press are available on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu.
The committee would like to thank several people for the significant help they provided in the preparation of this report. At the project 's conception, Rodger Bybee was Executive Director of the Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education (CSMEE) at the National Research Council. Susan Loucks-Horsley was program officer for COSE K-12. Both were enthusiastic about the project and swiftly identified and allocated the resources that would make the report a reality. Susan died tragically before the project's completion. We would like to believe that she would be pleased by this report's emphasis on the centrality of teacher professional development in improving assessment in the classroom.
Jane Butler Kahle, Chair of COSE K-12 when the project was approved, was instrumental in choosing the focus on assessment in the classroom as a priority for the committee. Kathy Comfort, Carolyn Ray, and Rachel Wood were active participants in the deliberations about the main emphasis of the document and its organization. All three provided many of the examples that appear throughout the document. On behalf of the NRC, Jan Tuomi assumed the administrative reins for COSE K-12 about half way through the project. She expertly helped to bring it to a conclusion, and, in particular, shepherded the manuscript skillfully through the complex and exacting NRC review procedure. Others who made significant contributions included Doug Sprunger, the COSE K-12 senior administrative associate, and Kirsten Sampson Snyder, CFE Reports Officer.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The
purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Jerry A. Bell, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC; Lloyd Bond, University of North Carolina, Greensboro; Lucy Eubanks, Clemson University; Senta Raizen, National Center for Improving Science Education, Washington, DC; Lorrie A. Shepard, University of Colorado, Boulder; Stephen G. Sireci, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Richard Stiggins, Assessment Training Institute, Portland, OR; Steven Weinberg, Connecticut State Department of Education; and Grant Wiggins, Learning by Design, Pennington, NJ.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Barbara Means of SRI International, Menlo Park, CA. She was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
J. Myron Atkin