Whole-Class Inquiry Assessments by: Joan A. Gallagher-Bolos and Dennis W. Smithenry

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Whole-class inquiry (WCI) assessments range from challenging, paper-and-pencil puzzles to lab-based problems that require students to apply their own gathered data to a new scenario; the latter might also require students to perform a lab with new parameters, or to answer a question using data from a previous lab. In this article, the authors present two example WCI assessments to describe how they implement these tests and use them to build a strong sense of community in their classrooms.

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  • on Thu May 03, 2012 3:13 PM

This article describes how two teachers devised an authentic assessment process for their students at the end of each unit. The entire class collaborates to solve a problem, and they practice being part of a scientific community. The assessment is called a WCI (whole class inquiry) assessment. The article provides two different scenarios for teachers needing actual examples of the types of whole class problems students are being asked to solve. The teachers take notes on how individual students interact with each other, and they observe how well the students behave as a scientific community to solve the problem at hand. At the end of the WCI, the teachers provide individual and group feedback. Students receive two separate grades as a result. The benefit of WCI assessments is that students not only learn the chemistry (or what ever subject matter at hand), but they also learn how to use the content like real life scientists.

Carolyn M  (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Carolyn M (Buffalo Grove, IL)

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