Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Using science capabilities for assessment

Recently, a teacher in a Facebook group asked how others set targets and measure progress in the junior science curriculum? I mentioned that at Hobsonville Point Secondary we have developed curriculum level rubrics around the science capabilities. Over the next few days, I was swamped with emails from various teachers at various schools wanting to see what we do. So I have put together a little summary for anyone interested.

First things first... Every term, the whole school designs their junior courses around one of eight whole school concepts. These eight concepts were pulled out from an analysis of the New Zealand Curriculum. Since our year nine and ten courses are combined, these whole school concepts go through a two-year cycle.

Each term, we have matched the whole school concept with a science capability based on the literature in TKI and the work of Ally Bull and Rose Hipkins. Every science course bases their learning and assessment around the selected science capability for the term. From here, we then developed learning objectives to further unpack the science capabilities. Each learning objective has a corresponding rubric which is used for tracking and reporting.

Our science capability informed learning objectives
Gather and Interpret data
  • To explore by investigating to provide evidence for [key concept] in [context].
  • To make sense by analysing and interpreting data to provide evidence for [key concept] in [context].
Using evidence to make meaning
  • To make sense by analysing scientific evidence for [key concept] in [context].
  • To generate by constructing scientific explanations for [key concept] in [context].
  • To evaluate by critiquing scientific explanations for [key concepts] in [context].
Interpret models and representations
  • To generate by constructing a representation or model for [key concept] in [context].
  • To evaluate by critiquing representations or models for [key concepts] in [context].
Combination of skills to support science, technology and society
  • To generate by responding to a socio-scientific issue.
 Finally, we decide on the context of the course. For example, we might decide to focus on astrobiology. Students might learn about current theories about aliens and their locations, and then critique representations of aliens based on their new knowledge. Or, students might learn to design investigations to better understand the organisms in their local environment. We might have a civil engineering context where students might analyse and interpret data about the properties of materials. They might then use these to make recommendations for building a bridge. My personal favourite learning objective is "to generate by responding to a socio-scientific issue." We have redeveloped this learning objective for project-based learning, ensuring that at least once a year, students will immerse themself in a socio-scientific issue, synthesise key science ideas about their chosen issue, and then take appropriate action. 

The video below was made by a group of students that were learning to model and represent forces in a circus context. (Thanks to The Dust Palace in Auckland for teaching us to use the equipment!).

 

Finally, students are assessed against the rubrics we developed to unpack each of the capability-based learning objectives. The rubric below is for "to generate by constructing a representation or model for [key concept] in [context]." Assessment might involve students submitting portfolios, student interviews, videos, etc. The sky is the limit!


CL 4
4 Developing4 Proficient 4 Adaptive
Construct a range of simple representations and models to make meaning. Scientific ideas are communicated by beginning to use a range of scientific symbols, conventions, and vocabulary.
Use scientific vocabulary and conventions

Constructs simple models or representations that make meaning by describing data or scientific ideas

I am able to:
Construct a simple model or representation that describes scientific information

Make meaning by connecting scientific ideas or data to a simple model or representation
Consistently use scientific vocabulary and conventions in a range of contexts.

Constructs simple models or representations that make meaning by explaining data or scientific ideas

I am able to:
Construct a simple model or representation that explains scientific information

Make meaning by relating scientific ideas or data to simple models or representations in a range of contexts.
Consistently use accepted scientific vocabulary and conventions in a range of contexts

Constructs simple models or representations that make meaning by discussing data or scientific ideas

I am able to:
Construct a simple model or representation that discusses scientific information

Make meaning by considering the application of scientific ideas or data to simple models or representations in a range of contexts.
Clarifications/Explanatory Notes/Links:
A model or representation may be physical (e.g., diagrams, flow charts, maps, scale models), mathematical (e.g., equations, graphs) or conceptual (e.g., imagery, metaphor, analogy), and it can be specific to a discipline. There are symbols, notations and terminology that are appropriate for specific types of representations within a discipline.
Accepted scientific vocabulary and conventions appropriate to level 4 of the curriculum.

CL 5
5 Developing5 Proficient5 Adaptive
Construct a range of representations or models to make meaning. Scientific ideas are communicated using a wider range of science vocabulary, symbols, and conventions (including visual and numerical literacy).
Use scientific vocabulary and conventions

Constructs visual and numerical representations or models that describe by:
communicating scientific concepts/ideas
AND/OR
showing patterns in data.


I am able to:
Construct a visual or numerical model or representation that describes scientific information

Make meaning by connecting scientific ideas or data to a visual or numerical model or representation
Consistently use scientific vocabulary and conventions in a range of contexts.

Constructs visual and numerical representations or models that explain by:
communicating scientific concepts/ideas
AND/OR
showing patterns in data.

I am able to:
Construct a visual or numerical model or representation that explains scientific information

Make meaning by relating scientific ideas or data to visual or numerical models or representations in a range of contexts.
Consistently use accepted scientific vocabulary and conventions in a range of contexts

Constructs visual and numerical representations or models that discuss by:
communicating scientific concepts/ideas
AND/OR
showing patterns in data.

I am able to:
Construct a visual or numerical model or representation that discusses scientific information

Make meaning by considering the application of scientific ideas or data to visual or numerical models or representations in a range of contexts.
Clarifications/Explanatory Notes:
A model or representation may be physical (e.g., diagrams, flow charts, maps, scale models), mathematical (e.g., equations, graphs) or conceptual (e.g., imagery, metaphor, analogy), and it can be specific to a discipline. There are symbols, notations and terminology that are appropriate for specific types of representations within a discipline.
Accepted scientific vocabulary and conventions appropriate to level 5 of the curriculum

CL 6
6 Developing6 Proficient6 Adaptive
Construct a range of representations or models to make meaning by beginning to connect scientific theories, models and investigations. Scientific ideas are communicated by beginning to use accepted science knowledge, vocabulary, symbols, and conventions (including visual and numerical literacy).
Use scientific vocabulary and conventions.

Connect simple scientific theories, models and investigations by describing visual and numerical representations or models when:
communicating scientific concepts/ideas
AND/OR
showing patterns in data.


I am able to:
Construct a visual or numerical model or representation that describes scientific information, by using supporting evidence.

Make meaning by connecting scientific ideas or data to simple scientific theories, models or investigations
Consistently use scientific vocabulary and conventions in a range of contexts.

Connect simple scientific theories, models and investigations by explaining visual and numerical representations or models when:
communicating scientific concepts/ideas
AND/OR
showing patterns in data.

I am able to:
Construct a visual or numerical model or representation that explains scientific information, by using supporting evidence.

Make meaning by relating scientific ideas or data to simple scientific theories, models or investigations in a range of contexts.
Consistently use accepted scientific vocabulary and conventions in a range of contexts

Connect simple scientific theories, models and investigations by discussing visual and numerical representations or models when:
communicating scientific concepts/ideas
AND/OR
showing patterns in data.

I am able to:
Construct a visual or numerical model or representation that discusses scientific information, by using supporting evidence.

Make meaning by considering the application of simple scientific theories, models or investigations in a range of contexts.

Choose appropriate and conventional visual or numerical model(s) or representation(s) to support an explanation of a concept, and discuss limitations of chosen models or representations
Clarifications/Explanatory Notes:
A model or representation may be physical (e.g., diagrams, flow charts, maps, scale models), mathematical (e.g., equations, graphs) or conceptual (e.g., imagery, metaphor, analogy), and it can be specific to a discipline. There are symbols, notations and terminology that are appropriate for specific types of representations within a discipline.
Accepted scientific vocabulary and conventions appropriate to level 6 of the curriculum

A few key things to note
  • These rubrics, learning objectives, etc. are not perfect. We are constantly adjusting and refining them to ensure that students gain the necessary skills and knowledge to be informed citizens and capable of success in senior science. Given the pace at which science is advancing, however, I would argue that evolving assessment and learning is the way to go...
  • You will notice that our focus in science is not on students learning about. Instead, there is a much greater focus on students learning to. This is in part as a result of the science capabilities that make some attempt at reconciling the perceived gap between skills and knowledge in the curriculum. 
  • The work of developing learning objectives and progressions is just as important, if not more so, than having a completed rubric. This is a difficult, sticky and usually confronting process. However, this process is a fundamental building block of shifting assessment away from historical modes of end of topic tests. It requires us learning to use the curriculum rather than achievement standards to dictate what and how we teach our students. It requires us to really ask 'what is science?', if it is not a unit on atoms and another on electricity. 
  • Many secondary school teachers know that there is never enough time and that we are in a constant race to 'cover all the content'. The only way of getting out of this content rat race is to let things go. If you just try to fit in more 'stuff', you end up doing more things, but worse. Instead, we are trying to do less, better. We have chosen the science capabilities because we believe they offer both access to the niche-specific knowledge of senior science, as well as providing life worthy, relevant learning for all students living in our modern world of exponential technology. Many science teachers might be alarmed that our school does not provide the stock standard introduction to the periodic table unit, and not all students will have learnt about parallel and series circuits. However, all our students will have had to explore and analyse a socio-scientific issue, and designed and prototyped an action accordingly. All students will have to use scientific evidence in some way, and be able to distinguish between what makes something scientific or not. 
  • The students in our class come from culturally and socially diverse backgrounds. They learn new skills from MOOCs and YouTube, and communicate using augmented reality (think IG filters!). The science capabilities offer enough flexibility that we can design courses around student interest while maintaining the integrity of science as a discipline.
  • We have been using this system/process for about four years now. In 2020, our plan is to extend our rubrics to include senior science courses. 
Any questions? Comment below! 

PS: If you are planning on redoing your science progressions, I highly recommend first reading the following:

8 comments:


  1. Thanks for sharing this amazing article, it is very informative post good work keep it up.
    dealmecoupon

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post! So glad you mentioned "letting things go" too. It's not always about adding "stuff," but also about CHOOSING the focus wisely. Neat new book that touches on this topic: The Subtle Side of Teaching

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for sharing great article on science capabilities. CD International school is the top schools in Gurgaon and all time encourage students to discover new things always.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Are you in need of Urgent Loan Here no collateral required all problem regarding Loan is solve between a short period of time with a low interest rate of 2% and duration more than 20 years what are you waiting for apply now and solve your problem or start a business with Loan paying of various bills You have come to the right place just contact us abdullahibrahimlender@gmail.com
    whatspp Number +918929490461
    Mr Abdullah Ibrahim

    ReplyDelete