How to Use Assessments to Improve Student Learningby: BSCS

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The ability of students to “do” biology and to understand biology concepts is essential. Developing biology lessons and assessing for an understanding of biology skills and concepts go hand-in-hand. Well-designed biology lessons result from well-designed assessments—ones focused on the important key understandings in biology. Summative tests, such as end-of-year unit or semester exams, represent one important way to assess student knowledge. But formative assessments—sometimes called ongoing assessments—such as monitoring students’ small-group conversations or evaluating students’ science notebooks are another. When you assess students’ ongoing learning, you gather information that can direct teaching decisions in the moment. This chapter focuses on in-the-moment assessments.

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  • on Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:56 PM

This chapter provides a framework that a teacher can use to plan for assessment throughout a unit or lesson. The author uses the term "endpoint" for summative assessments, which is confusing when terminology changes on whims. He suggests two types of formative assessments be considered - process related "Dynamic" and "Conceptual Frameworks" and suggests creating a blueprint through the construction of an overall rubric for the teacher to use to map out how assessment will be conducted as a lesson/unit is developed. Interesting idea and it seems to mirror some of what I have learned about the NGSS.

Tina Harris  (Bloomington, IN)
Tina Harris (Bloomington, IN)

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