Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

FP7

SAILS Résumé de rapport

Project ID: 289085
Financé au titre de: FP7-SIS
Pays: Ireland

Final Report Summary - SAILS (Strategies for Assessment of Inquiry Learning in Science)

Executive Summary:
The SAILS project has demonstrated how inquiry approaches can be used for teaching a range of scientific topics, and has helped science teachers become confident and competent in the assessment of their students’ learning through inquiry. More than 2700 science teachers across 12 European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, Turkey, UK) have participated in SAILS teacher education programmes during 2012-2015. These teachers have strengthened their inquiry pedagogy and assessment practices by developing their understanding of the role of assessment and use of inquiry teaching and learning in the classroom.

Inquiry skills are what learners use to make sense of the world around them. Inquiry approaches can help students develop deep conceptual understanding and encourage engagement with science. Inquiry approaches provide both the impetus and experience that helps students acquire problem solving and lifelong learning skills. These skills are important so that all citizens may make informed and reasoned decisions. Within the SAILS project, inquiry in the science classroom is understood to be the intentional process of providing opportunities where students are actively involved in diagnosing problems, critiquing experiments and distinguishing alternatives, planning investigations, researching conjectures, searching for information, constructing models, debating with peers, and forming coherent arguments. In carrying out this project, SAILS has focussed on supporting the development of four inquiry skills (developing hypotheses, working collaboratively, forming coherent arguments, planning investigations) as well as the competencies of scientific reasoning and scientific literacy. In classrooms, the role of assessment is to support and encourage student learning. Assessment within the inquiry classroom offers rich possibilities, both in terms of assessment of inquiry skills and competencies as well as assessment methods. Inquiry learning is an active and constructivist process thus assessment feedback should be integrated into this. Assessment of inquiry skills and competencies requires teachers to be able to use a variety of tools to determine where students are in their learning. From these data, they can make judgements that can help the student to decide on the next steps in learning, and so guide them towards improvement.

Through a dynamic collaboration between SAILS partners and teachers, nineteen SAILS Inquiry and Assessment Units have been developed which showcase the benefits of adopting inquiry approaches in classroom practice, exemplify how assessment practices are embedded in inquiry lessons and illustrate the variety of assessment opportunities and /or assessment processes available to science teachers. These units provide evidence that each inquiry skill and competence can be readily assessed. In particular, the units provide clear examples of how inquiry skills can be assessed, alongside content knowledge, scientific literacy and scientific reasoning and highlight the benefits of various types of assessments. Additionally, the units share examples of classroom practice, how evidence of student learning can be collected and evaluated using a variety of methods, e.g. classroom dialogue, teacher observation, presentations, peer-assessment, self-assessment, students’ written or multimedia work and the use of rubrics. Within each of the Units, there are Case Study reports from teachers across Europe who have implemented these in their classrooms. These reports provide an account of how the assessment units were implemented, what teaching approaches were adopted, what skills were assessed and what issues were encountered, relating to cultural perspectives and other equity issues, such as gender. Over 100 case study reports have been presented by in-service teachers from across the twelve participating countries in the SAILS project which provide rich accounts of the variations in the teaching approaches and assessment strategies adopted.

The SAILS Framework for Inquiry and Assessment considers the assessment and feedback in terms of what is assessed, when is it assessed and by whom is the assessment carried out. The Framework defines the range of inquiry skills and competencies addressed within the SAILS project for learning in science and discusses assessment and its purpose within the context of an inquiry classroom. Based on established research into cognition and assessment, it provides illustrative examples of classroom based assessment practices applied across the sciences. The SAILS Framework for Inquiry and Assessment includes illustrative examples from the SAILS Inquiry and Assessment Units.

SAILS Teacher Education programmes (TEPs) have been developed and implemented, with both pre-service and in-service teachers, across the 12 participating countries. By explicitly addressing the major barriers in implementing inquiry oriented assessment practices in classrooms, as perceived by the teachers, the TEPs have empowered teachers to overcome these challenges and supported them to increase the use of inquiry and it’s assessment in their classrooms. SAILS TEPs have provided opportunities for teacher to extend their assessment knowledge and develop strategies for making judgments and giving feedback to their students on their learning. Sharing Practices between teachers, educators and researchers has been at the heart of this project. Collaboration between the project partners in each country and local teachers experienced in inquiry allowed for the piloting, trialling and development of SAILS inquiry and assessment materials. The SAILS TEPs encouraged and facilitated cohorts of teachers to share their experiences from implementing inquiry and assessment lessons. As a result of the SAILS project, a Community of Practice (CoP) for inquiry and assessment in science has been sustained in each country. The SAILS website will further facilitate Sharing Practices and experiences from the project, through the provision of the nineteen Inquiry and Assessment Units and Case Studies, SAILS Framework for Inquiry and Assessment and a multitude of videos and resources of classroom practices shared by SAILS teachers.

The overall aim of the SAILS project was to support and advance the use of inquiry-based science education across Europe. The SAILS project has achieved this objective through a unified approach of implementing three key components for transforming classroom practice, i.e. teacher education, curriculum and assessment around an IBSE pedagogy. The SAILS professional development programmes in inquiry and assessment have increased teachers’ confidence in changing their classroom practice; have demonstrated the value of an inquiry approach on students’ learning and have described appropriate strategies for assessing inquiry skills and competences.

The key findings from the SAILS project have been that:
• Teaching and assessment considered as a dynamic and iterative process can effectively support inquiry learning.
• Learning science through inquiry can result in better understanding and more broadly applicable scientific knowledge, along with transferrable skills and competencies.
• With time and support, teachers can develop their confidence and competence in adopting inquiry and assessment of inquiry learning in classroom practice.
• Sustained collaboration is crucial in science education-between teachers and educators and across borders, both classrooms and countries.

Project Context and Objectives:
There is widespread concern about the outcomes of science education in schools with too few young people selecting to study science once it is no longer compulsory in their school system. Research also suggests that the main factor determining attitudes towards school science is the quality of the educational experience provided by the teacher and so clearly, any changes to science learning in the classroom must begin with the teacher.

In recent years, there has been much research and interest world-wide from educators, governments and employers on the skills and competencies needed by school leavers and graduates to succeed in life, career and citizenship. These have been termed Life-long Learning Skills and 21st century skills. These skills extend beyond the basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills to encompass such skills as critical thinking and problem solving, effective communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation, digital competence and learning to learn.

The Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competencies for lifelong learning (Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp 10-18) identifies and defines eight key competences necessary for personal fulfilment, active citizenship, social inclusion and employability in a knowledge society:
1. Communication in the mother tongue;
2. Communication in foreign languages;
3. Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology;
4. Digital competence;
5. Learning to learn;
6. Social and civic competences;
7. Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship;
8. Cultural awareness and expression.

The American Management Association 2010 Critical Skills Survey (available at http://www.amanet.org/news/ama-2010-critical-skills-survey.aspx) identified that employers needed employees who had the following skills in order to grow their business:
• Critical thinking and problem solving: the ability to make decisions, solve problems and take action as appropriate.
• Effective communication: the ability to synthesize and transmit ideas in both written and oral formats.
• Collaboration: the ability to work effectively with others, including those from diverse groups and with opposing points of view.
• Creativity and innovation: the ability to see what’s not there and make something happen.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) (available at: http://www.p21.org/) presents their view of 21st century teaching and learning that combines student outcomes (the acquisition of specific skills, content knowledge, expertise and literacies) with support systems. The P21 Framework for 21st Century Learning has identified these learning outcomes as:
(A) Learning and Innovation Skills - Creativity and Innovation, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Communication and Collaboration;
(B) Information, Media and Technology Skills - Information Literacy, Media Literacy, ICT Literacy;
(C) Life and Career Skills - Flexibility and Adaptability, Initiative and Self-Direction, Social and Cross-Cultural Skills, Productivity and Accountability, Leadership and Responsibility.

Crucial to the development of key skills and competencies in young people is their engagement in the education process. Methodologies such as inquiry-based science education (IBSE) have been highlighted as having the potential to increase student engagement in science at primary and second level and provide such development opportunities. IBSE is an approach to teaching and learning science that is conducted through the process of inquiry. The term inquiry has figured prominently in science education, yet it refers to at least three distinct categories of activities—what scientists do (e.g., conducting investigations using scientific methods), how students learn (e.g., actively inquiring through thinking and doing into a phenomenon or problem, often mirroring the processes used by scientists), and a pedagogical approach that teachers employ (e.g., designing or using curricula that allow for extended investigations). Some of the key characteristics of inquiry learning are described as:
1. Learners are engaged by scientifically oriented questions;
2. Learners give priority to evidence, which allows them to develop and evaluate explanations that address scientifically oriented questions;
3. Learners formulate explanations from evidence to address scientifically oriented questions;
4. Learners evaluate their explanations in light of alternative explanations, particularly those reflecting scientific understanding;
5. Learners communicate and justify their proposed explanations;
6. Learners design and conduct investigations.

The European Commission, have identified IBSE as a desirable methodology to implement in classrooms across Europe to engage young people in science and mathematics. Inquiry skills are deemed to be what learners use to make sense of the world around them. Inquiry approaches can help students develop deep conceptual understanding and encourage engagement with science. Inquiry approaches provide both the impetus and experience that support students acquiring problem solving and lifelong learning skills. These skills are important so that all citizens may make informed and reasoned decisions. The EU has funded several projects in IBSE throughout the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

A key factor that is missing from most of the projects and initiatives in IBSE undertaken to date has been the implementation of assessment strategies tailored to probe the competencies and skills that IBSE develops. For many students and teachers, assessment drives classroom activities. Most current assessment methods place a strong emphasis on knowledge recall and do not sufficiently capture the skills and attitudes dimension of key competencies. The result is that current models of assessment are typically at odds with the high-level skills, knowledge, attitudes and characteristics increasingly necessary in our fast-changing world. Furthermore, if something is assessed, then it is often more highly valued by both teachers and students. New assessment methods are needed that engage students as well as the application of a deep understanding of subject knowledge to solve complex, real world tasks and create new ideas, content, and knowledge.

In particular, collaboration and teamwork are key skills that are strongly desired in modern societies, and assessing the related competencies has received growing attention. Science inquiries may be carried out individually or in groups, and in both cases there are a number of contexts where competencies needed for collaborative activities may be fostered, with attention to gender (Matthews, B. (2006). Engaging Education. Developing Emotional Literacy, Equity and Co-education. Buckingham: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press). Similarly, there are several opportunities where students may evaluate each-other’s learning, and give useful feedback to their peers. The use of peer assessment to improve student learning has been highlighted as it may improve important social skills, communication skills and collaborative skills (Topping, K. (2013). Peers as source of formative and summative assessment. In J. H. McMillan (Ed.). SAGE handbook of research on classroom assessment (pp. 395-412). London: SAGE).

Implementing inquiry practices in the classroom requires a change of role for teachers. The teachers move from using direct instruction to becoming a mediator of their students' learning. This requires teachers to guide students towards solutions through the use of probing questions, rather than merely providing answers Assessment of IBSE skills and competencies requires teachers to be able to use a variety of tools to determine where students are in their learning. Over the course of the inquiry, teachers can build up various layers of assessment data at various stages in the inquiry cycle– some data from individuals and groups during the inquiry, some from the ways each group report on their progress and intentions and then, finally, some data from their final reporting of their findings. In this way, teachers collect rich data of how individuals and groups perform throughout the inquiry. However, few teachers have experienced inquiry as a learner themselves and therefore ongoing support and professional development programmes need to be provided that facilitate teachers’ understanding of IBSE and its assessment.

Teachers supporting teachers is a vital pedagogy for sustained educational development and reform. The sharing of teachers’ experiences and practice in their classrooms with other teachers can be an extremely powerful tool for the dissemination and promotion of IBSE and assessment. Additionally, the pedagogy of “teachers supporting teachers” is a very strong mechanism by which teachers can overcome the challenges they face in adopting IBSE and assessment strategies in their classroom practice.

The SAILS project main goal was to support teachers across Europe in adopting inquiry based science education (IBSE) at second level (students aged 12-18 years). The SAILS project adopted a unified approach of implementing multiple components, i.e. teacher education, curriculum and assessment around IBSE pedagogy, for transforming classroom practice. It is within this context that SAILS has identified and adopted the following objectives:
• OBJECTIVE 1: Enhance existing IBSE teaching and learning materials by incorporating inquiry assessment strategies and frameworks;
• OBJECTIVE 2: Partner with teachers to identify and implement assessment strategies and frameworks to evaluate key IBSE skills and competences in the classroom;
• OBJECTIVE 3: Provide teacher education workshops on inquiry and assessment of inquiry for pre-service and in-service teachers in IBSE;
• OBJECTIVE 4: Promote a self-sustaining model to encourage teachers to share experiences and practice of inquiry approaches to teaching, learning and assessment – by supporting a community of practice;
• OBJECTIVE 5: Promote the use and dissemination of inquiry approaches to teaching, learning and assessment with national and international stakeholders.

In defining these objectives the consortium incorporated the following considerations:
• Just as there is a great variety in inquiry-based materials, so must there be a variety of assessment strategies.
• In many countries, there is already a cohort of teachers that can serve both as a test-bed for newly developed assessments and as a nucleation site for further IBSE teaching, learning and assessment.
• Where a number of teachers using IBSE has been identified, an attractive environment will be created that encourages these teachers to bond together as a Community of Practice (CoP), with enough flexibility to allow and encourage growth throughout the duration of the project and beyond.
• Dissemination will target policy makers, curriculum developers and other stakeholders, so that changes can be made at national level to effect real change in classroom practice.

Project Results:
The SAILS project has collaborated to disseminate and promote IBSE as an effective teaching methodology for science learning across 12 European countries. The key findings from the project are that:
• Teaching and assessment considered as a dynamic and iterative process can effectively support inquiry learning.
• Learning science through inquiry can result in better understanding and more broadly applicable scientific knowledge, along with transferrable skills and competencies.
• With time and support, teachers can develop their confidence and competence in adopting inquiry and assessment of inquiry learning in classroom practice.
• Sustained collaboration is crucial in science education-between teachers and educators and across borders, both classrooms and countries.

These results have been collated after carrying out the tasks and meeting the objectives of the SAILS project, over a four year period. The first section, 3.1 Inquiry Skills and Competencies, discusses the successful mapping of inquiry skills onto the 21st century and lifelong learning skills. The process for selecting and defining the SAILS inquiry skills and competencies is outlined. Section 3.2 details the SAILS approach to assessing inquiry skills while Section 3.3 outlines the development process for the development of inquiry and assessment materials. Section 3.4 describes the SAILS inquiry and assessment units and the SAILS inquiry and assessment framework. The SAILS Teacher Education Programmes (TEPs), their evaluation and other indicators of their success is reported on in Section 3.5. Section 3.6 discusses the development of the international and national SAILS Community of Practice (CoP) and national plans for CoP continuation. Section 3.7 presents highlights from the dissemination and project promotion tasks that were carried out in this project. Finally, the project management and coordination tasks and achievements are reported in Section 3.8.

3.1 INQUIRY SKILLS AND COMPETENCIES

This section describes the tasks that were carried out in the SAILS project to identify skills and competences that may be developed and assessed in an IBSE pedagogy. These tasks included the identification of inquiry skills, mapping of these skills onto the broader 21st century skills and the selection of a number of key skills for further investigation in the SAILS project, as detailed in Section 3.1.1. The main purpose of the assessment is to promote learning; therefore it is important that assessment is integrated with teaching and learning and that assessment of student learning includes evaluation of both skills and competencies and content knowledge. A description of the four inquiry skills and the broader competencies of scientific reasoning and scientific literacy, focussed on in SAILS, are presented in Section 3.1.2.
3.1.1 Identification and Mapping of Skills and Competencies

One of the first tasks the SAILS project was to identify and describe 21st century skills and inquiry skills. 21st century skills can be viewed as the characteristics that are desirable in students on leaving their formal education. These skills extend beyond the basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills to encompass critical thinking and problem solving, effective communication, collaboration and creativity and innovation. A key task of the SAILS project was to examine the connection between these 21st century skills and those skills developed through inquiry. Key reports on 21st century skills were reviewed along with research literature and findings from IBSE projects to examine the relationship between these skills and competencies. The frameworks for 21st century skills included Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), European Framework for Key Competencies for lifelong learning, OECD Report: 21st Century Skills and Competencies for New Millennium Learners and European Future Skills-Biotechnology. A review of the use of inquiry and assessment of inquiry learning across the twelve participating countries was also carried out.

The term inquiry has figured prominently in the field of science education, yet it refers to at least three distinct categories of activities—what scientists do (e.g., conducting investigations using scientific methods), how students learn (e.g., actively inquiring through thinking and doing into a phenomenon or problem, often mirroring the processes used by scientists), and a pedagogical approach that teachers employ (e.g., designing or using curricula that allow for extended investigations) (Minner, D. D., Levy, A. J., & Century, J. ( 2010). “Inquiry-based science instruction-what is it and does it matter? Results from a research synthesis years 1984 to 2002”. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47, 474–496). The SAILS project considered as a starting point the definition of inquiry as the “intentional process of providing opportunities where students are actively involved in diagnosing problems, critiquing experiments and distinguishing alternatives, planning investigations, researching conjectures, searching for information, constructing models, debating with peers, and forming coherent arguments” (Linn, M. C., Davis E.A., & Bell, P. (2004). Internet Environments for Science Education. Mahwah, NJ.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates). It was generally possible to align all the 21st century skills to the P21 framework and to map these against the skills that may be developed when an IBSE pedagogy is implemented in the classroom. This mapping exercise highlights the importance of promoting innovative pedagogies, such as IBSE, for the development of Life-long Learning Skills and 21st century skills.

The current status of IBSE and assessment practices in the SAILS partner countries and in a number of external countries such as Finland, Australia, the United States and Canada, were reviewed. This provided information on current classroom practice and the importance given to various inquiry skills in the national assessment systems in each country. The results of these mapping exercises were used to develop a common understanding of inquiry within the SAILS consortium and helped prioritise the skills and competencies for which assessment procedures were developed and implemented. As a result, the inquiry skills of developing hypothesis, forming coherent arguments, planning and implementing investigations and working collaboratively were chosen for extensive study along with the broader competencies of scientific reasoning and scientific literacy. By using a pan-European approach SAILS ensured that diverse practices and experiences in IBSE and assessment built up in each country were shared - resulting in modes of best practice that can be used not only by all the consortium countries but will also be available for other countries to adopt. A European approach raises the standard for everyone, encourages national implementation and expands and encourages innovation in science teaching and learning in the classroom.

3.1.2 SAILS understanding of inquiry skills and competencies

The SAILS project consortium have researched and discussed what is meant by inquiry and what skills can be developed when an IBSE approach is adopted in the classroom. The inquiry skills of developing hypothesis, forming coherent arguments, planning and implementing investigations and working collaboratively were chosen for extensive study in SAILS, along with the broader competencies of scientific reasoning and scientific literacy. The skill of working collaboratively was identified due to its prominence in terms of a desirable 21st Century skill that school leavers should have and in terms of its importance within an inquiry learning environment. Observing and assessing the quality of collaborative work is still a great challenge in educational research. At the classroom level, however, it is possible and desirable to assess the quality of both individual and collaborative efforts. The following subsections outline the SAILS understanding of these six skills and competencies.

3.1.2.1 Developing hypothesis
Developing hypothesis involves extending a prediction to include a reasoned explanation/justification which is based on prior knowledge. The hypothesis should involve a testable question for further research or investigation. Students, individually or in groups, should learn to formulate questions that concern either comparisons between quantities or connections between variables. These two types of questions can be interchangeably formulated in classroom discussion and may become the focus of a scientific investigation.

3.1.2.2 Planning investigations
An integral component of science is planning and carrying out scientific investigations.
Planning investigations can involve the following actions:
(a) Refining an open question so that it can lead to one or more specific questions;
(b) Deciding what the student and others want to do to find out the answer to the question, including identification of variables and consideration of fair testing;
(c) Deciding what materials the group needs;
(d) Deciding how to record the information;
(e) Modifying the inquiry questions in response to ideas arising during the inquiry;
(f) In the light of final report, reflecting on what has been learned about the inquiry process during planning.

These steps are not linear, questions and plans are adapted and refined through the inquiry. As information is collected and observations made, it becomes clear that the plan is inadequate, and it is then important to go back through the steps. The components of this inquiry skill presume an appropriate level of reasoning skills. For instance, when making decisions on what to change and what to keep constant in an experiment, combinatorial thinking plays its important role. The skill of planning investigation could not be considered in isolation to the skill of carrying out the investigation and therefore this inquiry skill incorporates both.

3.1.2.3 Working Collaboratively
Collaborative learning involves students sharing ideas and using their peers as a resource. Collaboration implies that individual perspectives are valued and considered but not necessarily lost as the group idea develops. Rather it infers that ideas are evaluated, compared and sometimes reshaped and expanded to form new ways of thinking or to reach decisions with greater confidence. To be effective in a collaborative learning environment, learners need to demonstrate a growing development in their listening skills, the ways they express ideas and how they interact socially and emotionally with others. In all cases these social and emotional interactions are overlaid with gender and/or social class, and/or personality differences and are affected by cultural beliefs and values.

Collaborative learning is much more than allowing students to work on an inquiry in groups. The range and type of skillsets used within a collaborative learning environment enable learners to contribute towards the development of scientific argument, a consideration of the strength of evidence and the communication of the impact and implications of inquiry findings and these are all skills which contribute to life skills that are appropriate for 21st century scientific thinking.

3.1.2.4 Forming Coherent Arguments
This inquiry skill builds upon the domain-general reasoning processes. Arguments need to include all evidence (e.g. explain outliers). There needs to be critical discussions on the coherence of the arguments developed. An important part of this skill involves the collection and organisation of previous knowledge, determination of relevance and making relationships. Another component of this inquiry skill is the capacity to decide which kinds of evidence are supportive (verifying) or falsifying. To make distinctions between verifying, falsifying or non-aligned evidences requires critical thinking, i.e. reflective thinking about why we accept or refuse a statement or a conclusion. Forming coherent arguments can be developed at all stages of an inquiry (e.g. planning an investigation, developing hypothesis and explaining results). Students should develop skills to form coherent arguments individually and as a group.

3.1.2.5 Scientific Reasoning
Scientific reasoning is often referred to as the most advanced form of human thinking. Reasoning skills necessary for scientific inquiry were identified and described, e.g., deductive (logical) reasoning, inductive reasoning, combinatorial and probabilistic reasoning. Scientific reasoning uses abstractions and symbols, and represents phenomena in variables and dimensions. Scientific reasoning analyses the relations between the identified symbols and variables, and in these analyses, reasoning skills described in previous sections are applied. For example, scientific reasoning often deals with ratios, proportions and probabilities; designing experiments requires systematic combination of variables involved.
Scientific reasoning is often manifested through dialogue which involves reframing one’s own thinking through the process of argumentation. Argumentation requires the dynamic organization and re-organization of evidence, data, figures, etc., to persuade and convince one’s self and others. Argumentation is a core aspect of the nature of science. Peer-review and exchange is integral to the development of scientific ideas. The dynamics of these interactions may be influenced by factors, such as culture, gender and existing relationships. Scientific reasoning involves carrying out logical operations and establishing causal relationships between observed changes and may include inductive or deductive reasoning.
In classroom settings, the “reasoning errors” of thinking may be observed and mediated. For example, when separating variables of an experiment, keeping one or more variables constant while changing others, combinatorial reasoning is crucial. In cases where two variables are to be manipulated, understanding that there are at least four possible situations is necessary. Even when students have previously encountered combinatorial thinking, i.e. listing and identifying all cases, they can struggle to translate it to different contexts.

3.1.2.6 Scientific Literacy
The literacy concepts used in practice/everyday life are unique both in terms of employing and interpreting different concepts and defining objectives. Nevertheless, the scientific literacy frameworks and standards bearing different objectives and relying on the traditions of a particular culture and education system exhibit several similar features. For example, scientific literacy is commonly considered to entail much more than the integration of knowledge, values and the fundamental elements of scientific education, as it is a complex and multi-dimensional knowledge structure (Roberts, D.A. Scientific Literacy/Science Literacy. In S. K. Abell & N. G. Lederman (Eds.) Handbook of Research on Science Education, pp. 729-780), a project of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching). There is a broad consensus that scientific literacy is science knowledge that has a bearing with regard to both individual and social aspects. PISA studies (e.g. PISA 2015) have highlighted the importance of thinking processes that go beyond the mere recall of factual knowledge and the immediate use of routine algorithms. Individuals need transferable, expandable and adaptive science knowledge/scientific literacy. Scientific literacy incorporates the idea of individual and societal usefulness of knowledge, therefore the knowledge components learnt in school should be transferrable to new contexts and for several different purposes.

SAILS Deliverable: “Report on mapping the development of key skills and competencies onto skills developed in IBSE” (D1.1) and “Report on the Strategy for the assessment of skills and competencies suitable for IBSE” (D2.1).

3.2 SAILS APPROACH TO ASSESSMENT

3.2.1 Introduction to Assessment

Educational assessment is a well-defined field of research and practice which deals with collecting, analysing and utilizing data on students’ learning outcomes (Black, P. (2000). Research and the development of educational assessment. Oxford Review of Education, 26(3-4), 407-419. doi: 10.1080/713688540). There are several definitions of educational assessment, but most of them share some core elements. The Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation (“The student evaluation standards: How to improve evaluations of students”. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.) offers this definition: “Assessment: The process of collecting information about a student to aid in decision making about the student’s progress and development.” (p. 5). Definitions and interpretations of assessment usually distinguish two main purposes of the assessment. The characteristics mentioned by Harlen and Deakin Crick (2002, A systematic review of the impact of summative assessment and tests on students’ motivation for learning (EPPI-Centre Review, version 1.1). In: Research Evidence in Education Library. Issue 1. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education) appear in most descriptions: “Assessment is a term that covers any activity in which evidence of learning is collected in a planned and systematic way, and is used to make a judgment about learning. If the purpose is to help in decisions about how to advance learning and the judgement is about the next steps in learning and how to take them, then the assessment is formative in function. If the purpose is to summarise the learning that had taken place in order to grade, certificate or record progress, then the assessment is summative in function.”

Formative assessment is embedded in teaching and learning and its main purpose is to improve students’ learning. The focus therefore is on future learning and the means of getting to that next stage. It is often followed by an intervention which intends to compensate for developmental deficiencies. Summative assessment takes place at the end of a longer learning process and typically concerns itself with larger units of learning outcomes. Diagnostic tests are primarily designed to assess individual students’ progress relative to various reference points and can be used formatively to provide feedback to students’ on their progress, summatively to measure a students’ development at the end of learning process, or to provide system level feedback of the performance of an educational system (Csapó, B. & Szabó, G. (Eds.) (2012). Framework for diagnostic assessment of science. Budapest: Nemzeti Tankönyvkiadó).
There are various school cultures and classroom settings around the world in respect of teaching methods and approaches to assessment. The large-scale international assessment projects have directed the attention of decision-makers to the importance of assessment, and in many countries national assessment systems have been implemented. This progress has increased the level of expertise in assessment among teachers as well. However, the large scale assessments provide system level feedback, and the related analyses tend to have little impact on everyday classroom practices. One of the reasons behind this limited transfer is that immediate classroom level assessment requires different methods and instruments or different employment of these instruments in the learning context.

3.2.2 Assessment of Student Learning

Within the SAILS project, assessment is a term that covers any action in which evidence of learning is collected – it can help to make judgements about learning but also even more importantly it can help to inform learning. Assessment evidence can be collected through student artefacts, through teacher observation or from classroom dialogue. Information can be collected throughout the learning process – before, during or after an inquiry activity. Assessment can be made by the teacher, the learner or classroom peers. For skills such as working collaborative and teamwork, development requires time, especially with regard to gender and other cultural issues. Therefore, assessment needs to be ongoing to build a picture of students’ skills and competencies.

The first people who can assess students’ learning outcomes are the learners themselves. Students’ judgment of their own performance may be rather biased, and, as untrained assessors, they may make errors in the assessment process. Despite these constraints, students’ self-assessment may be potentially very useful and also important taking into account the requirements of life-long-learning that students are expected to become independent learners being able to manage the entire learning process, including assessment. As IBSE offers opportunities for students’ individual work, it involves numerous possibilities to develop self-regulated learning strategies and metacognition as well. In IBSE projects, self-assessment may take place in various forms, e.g. students may report and evaluate their successes and difficulties in the inquiry processes

Assessment of IBSE skills and competencies requires teachers to be able to use a variety of tools to determine where students are in their learning. From these data, they can make judgements that can help the teacher to decide on the next step in learning, and so guide their students towards improvement. These data can often be used in both formative ways and summative ways – the formative to provide feedback and guidance for future learning and decisions about teaching; the summative to enable teachers to chart progress of inquiry skill development over time. Over the course of the inquiry, teachers can build up various layers of assessment data at various stages in the inquiry cycle– some data accessed from individuals and groups during the inquiry, some from the ways each group report on their progress and intentions and then, finally, some data from their final reporting of their findings. In this way, teachers collect rich data of how individuals and groups performed throughout the inquiry.

The SAILS framework was developed to provide details on the context for assessment of inquiry learning in science and to describe what and how to assess in the context of IBSE. It gives details on subject specific content knowledge, inquiry skills, scientific literacy and reasoning that will be considered for particular scientific content appropriate for second level students. Originally, it was decided to present the framework with three school levels (low, middle and upper second level) but following discussions with partners, this was revised to a two-level system (lower secondary and upper secondary) to better reflect the standard school systems across the partner countries.

The final SAILS framework describes each of the inquiry skills and competencies and presents proven strategies for assessing them. Based on established research into cognition and assessment, it provides illustrative examples of classroom based assessment practices applied across the sciences. The SAILS team identified and selected inquiry activities that promoted these skills and competences and adopted an iterative and collaborative process of piloting and trialling inquiry and assessment materials to develop SAILS inquiry and assessment strategies. This process and the results of this process are described in the following Section 3.3.
SAILS Deliverable: “Report on the strategy for the assessment of skills and competencies suitable for IBSE” (D2.1).

3.3 TRIALLING INQUIRY AND ASSESSMENT IN THE CLASSROOM

Initially three scientific topics were selected and developed by the SAILS team to present an inquiry approach with appropriate strategies for assessing inquiry skills. These materials were piloted by experienced inquiry teachers in classrooms across Europe and the review of this piloting was integral to the development of all SAILS materials.

3.3.1 Initial Phase
In the development of the initial SAILS Assessment materials (Part A), the leaders of three workpackages (WP1, WP2 and WP3) led the development of three inquiry and assessment units. The topics of Speed, Reaction Rates and Food labels were chosen as they are common across the curricula in the participating countries. Within each topic, the content knowledge was based on that required at lower second level. Proportional reasoning was identified as the key reasoning skill to be included and planning an investigation was chosen as the inquiry skill. An outline of an inquiry lesson and associated assessment was proposed. These units were then piloted by teachers experienced with inquiry in a number of partner countries and feedback from this process was collected and analysed. Reports from the pilot teachers were generally favourable. The teachers felt that the approach to assessment of inquiry skills was achievable within their classrooms. The assessment opportunities allowed them to collect evidence of individual, group and whole class competency in specific inquiry skills, and to use evidence from their assessments to make judgements (summative assessment) and to inform their teaching (formative assessment). Some of the teacher groups felt that they learnt more from carrying out the assessment alongside the learning than if they had simply assessed the final report of the inquiry activity.

From this initial phase, a guide for developing other SAILS Inquiry and Assessment materials and a case study report template for the trialling teachers was developed. 34 different topics were then developed and proposed by the SAILS team, and each topic described inquiry activities, focused on 2-3 inquiry skills and presented assessment strategies that were integrated within the teaching sequence.

3.3.2 Trialling Phase

Following further trialling of these 34 topics by the SAILS team, 19 of these topics were selected for development as SAILS Inquiry and Assessment Units on the basis that the topics were across the disciplines of physics, chemistry and biology; that different types of inquiry were addressed – guided, bounded and open; that these topics were appropriate for students from lower to upper second level; and that these topics provided good opportunities for development of the SAILS skills and competencies. Each of the 19 selected topics were then trialled with teachers from at least three different countries from across the 12 participating countries in the SAILS consortium. This cross country, cross classroom approach was considered to be useful in order to analyse different implementations of the same topic, to examine the range of skills that teachers could collect information on and the various assessment strategies that teachers felt that they could use effectively with their students.

The objectives of each SAILS Inquiry and Assessment Unit were to highlight to teachers the benefits of an inquiry approach in classroom practice; exemplify how assessment strategies are integrated in an inquiry approach; and illustrate the variety of assessment opportunities/processes that are available. In particular, each SAILS Inquiry and Assessment Unit would provide clear examples for teachers of how different inquiry skills can be assessed, alongside content knowledge, scientific literacy and scientific reasoning and illustrate the benefits of various types of assessments. Additionally, the units would share examples of classroom practice, how evidence of student learning can be collected and evaluated using a variety of methods, e.g. classroom dialogue, teacher observation, presentations, peer-assessment, self-assessment, students’ written or multimedia work and the use of rubrics.

The feedback from the SAILS pilot teachers was collected in the form of Case Study (CS) reports which provided an account of how the assessment units were implemented in their classrooms, what teaching approaches was adopted, what skills were assessed. They also highlight any issues encountered, relating to cultural perspectives and other equity issues, such as gender. Over 100 case study (CS) reports have been presented by in-service teachers from across the twelve participating countries in the SAILS project which provide rich accounts of the variations in the teaching approaches and assessment strategies adopted. Teachers have adapted and adopted many different assessment strategies to assess the same skill, as described in the case studies. The reasons for these adaptations have been explained by the teachers as being due to several factors; including the teachers own inquiry and assessment confidence and competencies, their students’ abilities and educational levels and the national curriculum and assessment strategies. The assessment criteria used were also modified to suit student age and their experience level with inquiry and, in some case studies these criteria were also shared with the students so that they developed their experience with self-assessment and peer-assessment.

The analysis of the case studies highlight the different ways that inquiry teaching, learning and assessment have been approached in the classroom across the 12 participating countries. Assessment has been shown to be a dynamic and cyclic process that takes place at multiple timeframes. Teachers’ assessment practices have been influenced by several factors – e.g. teachers’ own experiences, student cohort and local curriculum. The case studies highlight to teachers that a variety of assessment strategies is both necessary and required for assessing inquiry learning in science. According to teachers’ experiences, usually at most two or three inquiry skills may be assessed within one lesson. Taken into account that in many cases, group work is an important part of the classroom situations, and since assessment may be realized in both individual and group levels, the assessment strategies for inquiry skills require concentrated efforts by the teachers.

The practice of involving students in the assessment process is strongly promoted, e.g. in the development of criteria for making judgements and through the use of student self- and peer-assessment. There is a tendency in the context of IBSE that formative assessment takes place at the group-level. This ensures that even when using hierarchically structured (ordinal scale) assessment, the scores received are paired with actual performance and not with individual psychological characteristics. The aim of students’ self-assessment and peer-assessment practices is to make distinctions between actual performance and long-time traits as aptitude or intelligence.

Although some case studies indicated the possibility of summative assessment forms (e.g., when scores from different rubrics were summarized and converted to school marks), most of the practices presented serve the aim of formative and diagnostic assessment. Assessing content knowledge often results in a diagnosis about students’ semantic networks and misconceptions. Mind mapping and brainstorming techniques enabled students to reveal their prior and prerequisite knowledge on different topics. Assessing reasoning and literacy components resulted in diagnoses on misuse of logical or inductive thinking processes. In these cases, the ongoing assessment helped students to reformulate and improve their answers.

The many examples presented illustrate the value of interplay of focus on individuals, groups, class and serve to inspire teachers to change their inquiry and assessment practices. However, developing inquiry practices, by both teachers and students, takes time as teachers and students need to learn to act, interact and learn in different and often new ways. Using the SAILS Assessment strategies, teachers were encouraged to facilitate students learning by inquiry, having set up their students to self-assess and monitor their own progress and tasks. It was found that teachers need to be given appropriate support to develop their confidence and competence in assessment practices and use a range of evidence to inform their decisions on student learning.

The case studies show that the pilot teachers felt that the process of trialling and reporting on their implementation of the SAILS units was a useful professional development experience for them. Many partners organized whole-group meetings with their pilot teachers where they facilitated discussions on how units were implemented and what skills could be assessed. In some cases, the groups collectively analysed student work and discussed their criteria for assessment. This work fed into the development of the SAILS teacher education programmes and in some cases led to pilot teachers taking a role in the SAILS TEPs, reporting on their experiences to teachers with less experience with implementing inquiry. The SAILS units have also been used extensively within the SAILS TEPs as exemplar inquiry and assessment material. The results of the development of the TEP and the associated evaluation process are described in Section 3.5.

The analysis of the case studies as reported in the “Report on finalised evaluation materials for teacher education in IBSE with integrated assessment” (D3.3) found that it was clear that the teachers:
• Recognise the benefits of group work and working collaboratively and worked at strengthening this in their classrooms
• Generally embraced the notion of greater mediation of students learning, and the need to guide students through probing questions while they attempted an inquiry
• Are willing to adapt the assessment tools within an inquiry to their own contexts
• Are considering the wider implications of being ‘gender aware’ & involving their students in self-reflection
• Enjoy giving students the opportunity for self-review/ assessment and peer review
• Are very reflective through their writing
• Are starting to articulate the tension between formative practice and teacher summative judgments.

When interpreting assessment in the context of IBSE, it is necessary to take into account that inquiry methods consider learning as an active and constructive process, thus assessment feedback should be integrated into this active learning process. Thus, the assessment has to deal with components of knowledge and skills where changes are observable after relatively short periods. In such situations, there may be more direct correspondence between classroom activities and learning outcomes, and the feedback the assessment provides may orient the next phase of learning. This concept is embedded within the SAILS inquiry and assessment units. The first section in each unit provides the unit outline in terms of content and concepts covered. The second section gives ideas on how the activities can be implemented and how the skill/competency involved can be assessed. The third section provides a synthesis of the case studies of the implementation of the unit across at least three countries, in terms of the teaching approach and the assessment strategies. These syntheses highlight the strengths of the units –they can be adapted to suit the local context (curriculum, student level, experience with inquiry), they can be used to promote the development of many different skills, a range of assessment strategies can be used to gather information on students development of skills, the collection of different assessment evidence can be used to build a picture of student achievement and can inform the teacher on future learning needs. The case study syntheses demonstrate that teachers have adapted and adopted many different assessment strategies to assess the same skill. Teachers were also able to adapt the units to focus on additional skills than those originally foreseen by the unit developers, showing the flexibility of use of these materials.

Trialling of the draft units with teachers in classrooms, and developing case studies provided evidence of the efficacy of an IBSE approach. There was strong evidence of IBSE assessment practices in the classroom and a broad range of ways in which the evidence was collected. This in turn furthered the development of assessment criteria that can be used in assessment of inquiry skills and informed the final framework of assessment strategies.

In summary, the following were achieved or realised through the trialling of the units:
1) Units were undertaken successfully in biology, chemistry and physics, in both upper and lower level.
2) Units were generally undertaken in the age range suggested by the unit authors but when a different age group was selected, teachers were able to modify the inquiry or assessment or both.
3) Teachers considered the topic more than the skills it developed when selecting an inquiry to trial. Where a teacher can overtly see that a topic will fit their curriculum they are more likely to select it. If they wanted to focus on a specific inquiry skill, then they were able to adapt the inquiry to do this, in most cases.
4) The teachers adapted the units to fit their local needs. This might have included changing the inquiry competencies to focus on or the time slot to fit the inquiry in.
5) Teacher roles included greater mediation of students learning and requires teachers to guide students towards solutions through the use of probing questions, rather than merely providing answers.
6) Awareness of the benefits of group work was recognised but it was clear that, in many classrooms, the skills to improve collaborative working were only beginning to emerge.
7) There was a growing understanding of gender issues through student self-review and peer review of their collaborative working
8) For some teachers, tension exists between formative practice and teacher summative assessments.

SAILS Deliverable: “Report from evaluation of implementation with pilot teachers (Part A)” (D3.3).

3.4 SAILS UNITS AND FRAMEWORK

The approach adopted by the project team was to develop through piloting and trialling a range of inquiry and assessment materials that could be presented as stand along ‘Units’ and used as illustrative examples in the SAILS Framework for Inquiry and Assessment. The objectives of each SAILS Inquiry and Assessment Unit were to highlight to teachers the benefits of an inquiry approach in classroom practice; exemplify how assessment strategies are integrated in an inquiry approach; and illustrate the variety of assessment opportunities/processes that are available. The SAILS framework describes each of the inquiry skills and competencies and presents proven strategies for assessing them. The main purpose of the Units and Framework was to support, both in-service teachers and pre-service teachers, extending their own inquiry and assessment practices through participation in SAILS Teacher Education Programmes.

Overall 19 SAILS Inquiry and Assessment Units were developed for the teaching and learning of Physics, Chemistry and Biology at lower and upper secondary level. These are distributed as outlined:
• Lower secondary Biology: Food and Food Labels, Plant nutrition, Wood lice
• Upper secondary Biology: Natural Selection
• Lower secondary Chemistry: Acids, bases, salts; Black tide: Oil in the water; Reaction rates; The proof of the pudding; Which is the Best Fuel?; Household vs natural environment
• Upper secondary Chemistry: Household vs natural environment, Polymers
• Lower secondary Physics: Collision of an egg, Electricity, Light, Oranges, Speed
• Upper secondary Physics: Global warming, Ultraviolet radiation, Up there… how is it?

The SAILS units have been presented in a two volume book format which have been printed and distributed to teachers in several of the participating countries (Belgium, Denmark, Ireland) and are available/will be available in several languages (Danish, English, Polish, Turkish, Portuguese). The units along with the case studies and appropriate classroom materials have been shared on the SAILS project website and on the Scientix portal. The SAILS inquiry and assessment units are provided in a downloadable e-book format on the project website. Supporting materials such as student worksheets, rubrics and assessment items are also provided in a format that can be edited and adapted by teachers.

The SAILS assessment framework describes each of the selected inquiry skills (developing hypothesis, forming coherent arguments, planning investigations and working collaboratively) and competencies (scientific reasoning and literacy) and describes strategies for assessing these skills that can provide teachers with information that will help them to provide feedback and guidance to their students. Similar to other framework documents (e.g. PISA 2015), it provides illustrative examples of classroom based assessment practices and provides evidence of how student learning can be collected and evaluated using a variety of methods, e.g. classroom dialogue, teacher observation, presentations, peer-assessment, self-assessment, students’ written or multimedia work and the use of rubrics.

3.5 SAILS TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMME

The most important predictor of students’ achievements is the quality of the teaching they receive. In recent years, developments in teacher education have been organized under several conceptual frameworks. These include improving the scientific foundations of teaching, developing teachers’ knowledge and skills alongside providing them with materials and tools, and preparing teachers for identifying and applying research results and carrying out teaching experiments to improve their own work. The SAILS Teacher Education Programmes (TEPs) carried out in each partner country have been carefully aligned with these frameworks. They prepare teachers to identify and assess inquiry, literacy and reasoning skills. By adopting the SAILS approach, teachers come to realise how learning science in an inquiry context may result in better understanding and transferable knowledge and skills.

The SAILS TEPs were developed over three stages with evaluation of the programmes carried out throughout in order to develop a programme that could effectively support teachers in implementing inquiry in their classrooms and assessing their students’ inquiry skills. The focus for the first round of TEP was on introducing teachers to IBSE, helping teachers implement inquiry-based activities in the classroom and addressing key issues such as classroom management strategies, problem-solving, handling investigations, etc. The second round of TEPs aimed to incorporate assessment into the inquiry programme. These TEPs include some of these assessment frameworks/instruments within the IBSE teaching and learning materials developed by the SAILS project. The final stage aimed to provide an integrated inquiry and assessment programme and focused on three core elements:

• Experiencing Inquiry and Assessment,
• Trialling IBSE and assessment in the classroom,
• Developing IBSE and Assessment Resources

Several additional elements were addressed in workshops, depending on local professional development needs. These additional elements included:

• Facilitating and assessing group work
• Developing assessment criteria and/or learning progression
• Facilitating and assessing student argumentation
• Providing students with productive feedback
• Using ICT in assessment

Teachers were invited to continue their professional development and attend later stage TEPs with some teachers attending all three stages of SAILS TEPs. In all, 2,724 teachers (1,349 in-service teachers and 1,375 pre-service teachers) have attended the SAILS TEPs over the duration of this project with some teachers attending multiple TEP stages. These teachers were invited to join and participate in the SAILS CoP described below.

SAILS TEPs consisted of a number of workshops; however, the format of the workshops varied between countries to suit the needs of the teachers. In some countries, the workshops were provided as one-day or half-day sessions with some time in between in order to allow teachers to implement what they have learned in the workshops within their own teaching and then to share their experience and challenges. In other countries, the sessions were concentrated in winter schools or summer conferences, often between semesters, in order to attract teachers from around the country. Teachers were encouraged to do some work such as developing their own inquiry and assessment materials in between or after the workshops and/or to implement particular aspects of the TEPs within their own teaching.

As teachers in each country had different prior experiences of inquiry and assessment, each partner was given the scope to develop and implement workshops that best meet the professional-development needs of their cohorts of teachers. Each partner organised their TEPs to address the local/national curricula and assessment frameworks and were encouraged to integrate assessment, using the SAILS materials, in their own manner. Therefore the TEPs in different countries varied somewhat – but all had the general aim of equipping teachers with knowledge and skills to implement IBSE in the classroom and raising the awareness and use of different assessment strategies that can assess inquiry in the classroom.

In designing the SAILS TEPs, the central aims were to:
• Accommodate the diverse range of teachers participating in such programmes- based on both subject specialism, prior experience with IBSE and assessment;
• Take account of the time available for in-service teachers to attend such programmes;
• Take account of the structure of the programmes (summer schools/winter school vs. series of workshops over time vs. one day programmes);
• Fit in with pre-service teacher modules;
• Suit all countries with different modes of work, cultural differences and curricula constraints.

Common features of the SAILS TEPs across the partner countries include teachers being introduced to IBSE, experiencing active hands-on experiences with inquiry, participating in interactive reflective and plenary discussions and being introduced to the assessment of inquiry skills.

The core elements of the SAILS TEP are described below.

3.5.1 Experiencing Inquiry and Assessment

In addressing this element, teachers became familiar with the overall aims and objectives of the SAILS project. Teachers, through experience with IBSE activities, recognised the value of IBSE as a teaching methodology and became motivated to try IBSE in their classrooms. Teachers recognised opportunities for and the value of different assessment strategies and how they can be implemented. One SAILS teacher reported that “Being involved in inquiry learning and attending workshops has changed my mind-set in terms of how I view and think about assessment. I now realise that there are so many more types of assessment. Before I got involved in inquiry learning, for me assessment was, quite literally, just that test that you gave at the end of the topic. Now I understand assessment can be much richer”

3.5.2 Trialling IBSE and assessment in the classroom

As part of the SAILS STAGE 2 TEP, the teachers were given opportunity to trial the SAILS units or adapt their own lessons to inquiry. It is by seeing how their own students conduct such activities, that teachers see at first hand the effect of inquiry on their students. Additionally, teachers were encouraged to trial different assessment formats with their students, particularly those that involve assessment during the inquiry activity. Following trialling/implementing in the classroom, the teachers were given an opportunity to reflect on the implementation in the classroom and discuss this with others at the follow-up workshop, in particular:
• Preparing and implementing IBSE units and assessment of inquiry skills in schools;
• Using and assessing of inquiry skills in schools.

Teacher’s reflections focused on:
• The student learning during the IBSE activity;
• The inquiry skills developed during the activity;
• The assessment strategy used by the teacher;
• How decisions were made to arrive at the assessment;
• The feedback given to the student.

Teachers were encouraged to bring evidence of their students’ learning to form the basis of discussions at the workshop. If these were not available, then examples from the SAILS units were used as the basis for discussion. Discussions included the following and included strategies to address the difficulties:
• Skills addressed in inquiry activity;
• Difficulties with implementation to overcome (e.g. group work, time, etc.);
• Forms of assessment and their relevance or applicability for different groups of students;
• Preparing students for different focus of assessment;
• Where to now?-following on assessment episode.

3.5.3 Developing IBSE and Assessment resources

As part of SAILS TEPs, teachers were encouraged and facilitated to adapt and develop resources for use in their classrooms. With the support of their peer group and teacher educators, teachers (individually or in small groups) decided on a topic area and 2-3 skills and competencies. Teachers developed these inquiry and assessment resources and in some cases, trialled them in the classroom, and were facilitated to share their resources and experiences with their peer group. In this way, teachers were supported in not only implementing assessment strategies in their classrooms, but also in developing and adapting other resources to suit their needs.

3.5.4 Gender and TEPs

In developing the SAILS TEPs, particular attention was paid to overcoming any gender issues that teachers might face concerning assessment. This was generally discussed as part of an introductory discussion within an in-service session (e.g. discussions based on the ROSE project or the Rocard report) or after participating in inquiry activities when considering how students would respond to particular inquiry contexts. Gender in group work was a particular focus. This was developed through activities such as observations by participants of a mixed gender group of teachers engaged in a challenging activity and a follow-on discussion focused on participant interaction, nature and amount of dialogue and assumed roles. Discussions were also held on how groups could be assigned within an inquiry classroom (by gender, ability, friendship groups, etc.) and the advantages/disadvantages of such groupings.

In the evaluation of the final cohort of teachers, described below, the responses of teachers were examined based on their gender. Of the 305 teachers who completed both questionnaires, 29% were male and 71% were female. Some differences were seen in responses to the questionnaires. It is difficult however to determine if any of these differences form a pattern or are really only a random difference. One tentative conclusion that could be drawn is that of those experienced inquiry teachers, the female cohort value more discussion in the classroom than their male counterparts. However, further analysis should be conducted before there is real evidence for this statement.

Within the pre-service cohort of teachers who had teaching experience, there are indications that female teachers encouraged student practices relating to the development of scientific reasoning more than their male counterpoints, e.g. their students have a role in an investigation, they understand why the data they collect is important, they analyse their own data, they develop conclusions and they consider ways of interpreting evidence. For pre-service teachers without teaching experience, there are some indications that a greater proportion of the female cohort valued particular inquiry practices (students having a role in the investigation, understanding why they are collecting evidence, interpreting evidence, working collaboratively) more than the male cohort initially but were also more confident in its assessment both initially and following TEP

3.5.5 Evaluation of TEPs

Within the first two stages of TEPs, each TEP organiser was responsible for the evaluation of their TEPs and these have mostly been carried using post workshop feedback forms. Plans for each country’s evaluation were presented and discussed at general assembly meetings during these stages. According to these evaluations, participating in-service teachers were generally very positive, both in terms of how the workshops were organised and in terms of content. Participants claimed that they found the content relevant for their practice and they valued collaborating with other teachers.

Similar to the in-service teacher evaluations, pre-service teachers were also very positive about the workshops and many claimed that the workshops promoted their interest in IBSE and assessment. However, a number of pre-service teachers raised concerns about implementing IBSE in their classrooms, and this indicates that the focus of these teachers was more on content knowledge rather than on the assessment of skills.

In the final stage of SAILS TEPs, an overall evaluation of the impact of teachers, both in-service and pre-service, participating in the STAGE 2 TEPs was carried out using a pre- and post TEP questionnaire across the twelve participating countries. This evaluation instrument addressed the following aspects:
1. The overall effect on the teachers as a result of the IBSEA (Inquiry Based Science Education and Assessment) TEPs.
2. The overall effect on the teachers’ attitudes to assessment as a result of the IBSEA TEPs.
3. The main constraints the teachers experienced.

The data was analysed statistically and by multidimensional scaling analysis – a technique used to determine the similarities or dissimilarities between objects. In total, 305 in-service and 175 pre-service teachers completed both questionnaires. The main findings from the surveys indicate that teachers from all country cohorts moved to having a greater understanding of inquiry and the roles of the teacher and students in an inquiry classroom following the SAILS teacher education programme. This occurred regardless of the prior experience level of the teachers in inquiry and of their number of years teaching experience. By explicitly addressing the major constraints in implementing IBSE oriented assessment practices in classrooms, as perceived by the teachers, the SAILS project has equipped the teachers with the power to actively engage in the transformation of these obstacles into manageable challenges, not least in changing traditional approaches to teaching and assessing towards IBSE and formative-assessment practices in their own classrooms and schools. SAILS workshops have supported teachers in using assessment strategies to make judgments and give feedback to their students on how to improve their learning. As evidenced by the analysis of questionnaires completed by the final cohort of teachers all participating teachers’ understanding of inquiry and their confidence with assessing inquiry practices in the classroom increased significantly.

Through SAILS, many teachers have successfully adapted their teaching approaches and have given students a more active role. For example, they organised experimental work so that students raised questions, decided on appropriate methods and analysed the data they collected. Teachers have also coached their students on working more collaboratively and communicating their ideas to others. This has resulted in students using one another as a resource and discussing their scientific thinking as they went about their inquiry activities. For many students, taking on the responsibility of inquiry helped them engage in the learning process and to find ways to work well with their peers.

SAILS Deliverable: “Report on IBSE Teacher Education and Assessment programme, STAGE 2” (D4.3).

3.6 COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE

The aim of the SAILS CoP was to bring practitioners of inquiry learning and assessment in science together to facilitate a learning community. The key objectives for the SAILS CoP were as follows:
• The Community of Practice will engage teachers interested in IBSE and promote itself as a place to engage, learn and reflect about assessment and inquiry and a facility to collaborate both nationally and internationally.
• The Community of Practice will become a flexible and informative resource for science educators in IBSE and assessment, growing and sustaining itself beyond the lifetime of the project.

In the context of the SAILS CoP the domain relates to the body of knowledge around assessment in Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) and assessment of inquiry learning. There are then three distinct communities that can be identified as constituents of the SAILS CoP:
• The SAILS project beneficiaries from each country.
• Country communities - educators facilitating SAILS teachers’ workshops, supporting piloting SAILS materials in the classroom and developing case-studies of these experiences.
• Practitioner communities – teachers supporting each other in using IBSE and assessment and facilitated by the SAILS project team member.

The Community of Practice (CoP) portal on the SAILS project website was developed to support the CoP activities and did this quite successfully during the lifetime of the project. Following the initial population of the website with draft inquiry and assessment materials and the teachers attending SAILS teacher education programmes (TEPs) were introduced to the purpose of the CoP, all national CoPs became active in October 2012.

Within the SAILS website a CoP portal was facilitated at two levels:
1. National CoPs in each native language for each of the countries participating in the SAILS project - Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom.
2. An International CoP (in English) providing resources, support and a common discussion forum.

One key point in relation to what constitutes a Community of Practice (CoP) is that they are identified as a community and not only by the means by which the CoP is brought together. Sharing practice is core pedagogy of the SAILS project; to develop and extend the use of IBSE and assessment of inquiry learning. The SAILS project created and maintained a dedicated portal to share information and resources with and between all members of the CoP. The SAILS portal has facilitated the SAILS community of practitioners to share and discuss their practice and to collaboratively develop and extend the use of IBSE and its assessment in classroom practice.
The SAILS project saw an increase in CoP membership numbers, discussion forums and numbers of shared resources during the last two years of the project. The total membership is 1,410, which is just over 50% of the total number of teachers that have attended SAILS TEPs over the project lifetime. This is considered a significant achievement of the project as it is particularly difficult to gain traction in a practitioner CoP in a project like SAILS where the subject material is quite specialised, the project is cross-border and has to deal with language and cultural issues and participants were aware of the relatively finite lifetime of the project and therefore the CoP in its presented format

3.6.1 Engagement with CoP members

The SAILS CoP has contributed strongly to teaching communities in the participating countries through providing a forum for teachers to come together to discuss IBSE and assessment as a common domain of interest with the objective of developing a shared practice. In particular, the SAILS teacher education programmes (TEPs) implemented over the lifetime of the project has built communities around IBSE through experiences shared at workshops. The participation in these workshops has initiated the development of National CoPs as teachers got to meet each other and discuss and develop their IBSE and assessment practices. These communities are sustained beyond the lifetime of the TEPs with teachers keeping in contact, for example through email or other workshops/events.

In addition to this, partners in each country identified a national stakeholder reference group. This group, composed of teachers and representatives of stakeholder organizations including teacher educators, science education researchers, curriculum developers, quality assurance and educational governance communities, were engaged with throughout the project and updated with project results and findings. This was led by the lead national partner in each country with communication through the SAILS newsletter, brochures, email, face-to-face meetings, organization of workshops and seminars.

3.6.2 SAILS European conference

The SAILS conference brought together second level teachers and practitioners with teacher educators and researchers to discuss and share their experiences with implementing an inquiry approach to teaching, learning and assessment. The conference took place on 24-25th June 2014 in Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland in parallel with the 6th biennial Science and Mathematics Education Conference (SMEC 2014). SAILS project partners selected 68 secondary level science teachers and practitioners from across the 12 participating countries.

A key element of the conference was to provide a platform for teachers to share their experience with implementing inquiry and SAILS assessment strategies within their teaching practice. Teachers were invited to give a short presentation on their work with inquiry and assessment within classroom practice sessions. An open discussion was facilitated at the end of each session (3-4 teacher talks) which afforded opportunities for further discussions between teachers. The format of this conference was unique in that it brought together both practicing teachers and researchers in science and mathematics education. To promote these invaluable networking opportunities, two poster sessions were scheduled.

Outputs from the conference include further professional development training for the participating teachers. The poster sessions and classroom practice reports provided networking opportunities for teachers allowing teachers to share teaching and assessment strategies and removing the initial barriers teachers face in participating on an online CoP.
The classroom reports and posters have been shared on the CoP which provides a bank of materials that teachers can use within their own teaching.

Inspired by the success of the SAILS European conference, many partners held national conferences. Teachers sharing their experiences with the SAILS project, implementing inquiry and assessing their students’ inquiry skills formed the focus of these conferences and provided a platform for partners and teachers to promote the work of SAILS to national stakeholders such as other teachers, teacher educators, researchers in science education and representatives of the education authorities.

3.6.3 Sustaining the CoP

The plan of the SAILS team for achieving a sustainable CoP is focused on providing continued support for teachers to develop and extend their own practice of inquiry learning and its assessment. It follows on from a concerted effort by all partners to grow and nurture CoPs during the lifetime of the SAILS project. To address this goal, the SAILS website has been redesigned and converted to a static site. This static site referred to as the ‘legacy’ site is accessible from the SAILS project website and will replace the project website early in 2016. In particular, each of the 19 units developed by the SAILS project, along with over 100 case studies of implementation of these units in classrooms across Europe are freely provided for all existing SAILS CoP members and new teachers to the project. The units are searchable in terms of concepts addressed, level, inquiry skills and competence included and what methods of assessment have been utilised in this unit. An additional element of the website is focused on “Sharing Practices”. This is a unique feature of the SAILS legacy and provides illustrative examples of classroom based assessment practices applied across the sciences through the format of videos of classroom practice, interviews with teachers on different units or assessment strategies, interviews with SAILS partners on the impact of the SAILS project in each country and examples of teacher presentations and posters.

Research on social media use in each partner country was undertaken to develop a clear strategy for sustaining the CoP. The resultant strategy will involve tapping into existing CoPs and utilising the communication methods already used by that CoP. This has the following advantages:

• As the CoP already exists it is assumed to be self-sustaining.
• There is no ongoing cost as the SAILS team will be using existing free-to-use technology.

The use of Social media buttons is being leveraged to allow teachers to easily share the many outputs of the SAILS project, i.e. Inquiry and Assessment units, classroom videos, key reports, with their existing communities and networks. The SAILS units will also be made available through the Scientix platform in English and anticipated to be translated into several languages at the request of teachers from the participating countries.

The SAILS report on the Plan for the Continuation of the CoP (D5.6) presents each beneficiary’s plans for sustaining their CoP at the end of the project. Examples of this include continuation of TEPs, participation at national teachers’ conferences, the recruitment of SAILS teachers to new projects and collaborations with teachers to publish articles and papers based on their work with SAILS.

SAILS Deliverable: “Plan for the Continuation of the CoP” (D5.6).

3.7 DISSEMINATION AND SHARING PRACTICES

The dissemination strategy for the SAILS project had three main objectives. These were:
• To reach a wide audience of stakeholders, decision makers and special interest groups for the propagation of the conduct, implementation and outcomes of the project. Three different types of stakeholder were identified: government agency representatives and policy makers, pedagogical researchers and practitioners, and technologists and content providers.
• To participate in presentations/workshops/conferences at national, European and international level to share project process/outcomes and examples of best practice in IBSE.
• To publish articles/reports in journals, newsletters, newspapers, at national, European and international level to share project process/outcomes and examples of best practice in IBSE.

An extensive set of publicity materials were developed for the project and translated where necessary. These include leaflets, posters, and pull-up banners as well as the brochures, newsletters and related resources created for stakeholders. Linked to these publicity materials are the two printed volumes of SAILS Inquiry and Assessment units produced towards the end of the project.

3.7.1 Sharing practices

In addressing the first objective, a key dissemination activity has been to establish and maintain a credible and attractive web presence for the project. There have been three main iterations of the project website, the first was available for the first 2 years of the project and was successful in establishing the project and in building up interest amongst the target community. A new site was launched in early 2014 designed to be more visually interesting and to provide a more activity-based presence for the project. The last iteration is the legacy site, launched in November 2015 and currently available at http://results.sails-project.eu/ which contains the main outputs of the project and links to existing social media tools. There has been a steady growth in the number of visitors to the websites and by mid-December 2015, 29,657 unique visitors had visited the site.

Various video resources have been realised connected to different stages of the project’s lifetime. These include:

1. Partner videos: Interviews with the partners were recorded at the start of the project and are available on the project website, they provide a useful record of the challenges faced by the partners and how they viewed the value of the work they were undertaking in SAILS from an early stage. As a complement to these videos, two sets of final videos were recorded with partners towards the end of the project focused on two separate questions; what they had achieved in the project and what they hoped to do with the outcomes of SAILS in their countries in the future. These short compilations provide the viewer with a good overview as to the main achievements of the project and show the extent to which all partners were engaged in its realisation. These compilation interviews were used during the SAILS Conference in Brussels on 18 November 2015 and made available subsequently on the project web site.
2. Teacher videos: These interviews were recorded at the teachers Conference in Dublin in June 2014 and present teachers’ experiences with implementing inquiry and associated assessment in the classroom.
3. Classroom recordings: One of the challenges faced by partners in disseminating new classroom practice lies in really showing teachers how they can be implemented in a real classroom recording. Video is an important tool in this respect as it allows the teacher educator to really show and illustrate what they want to communicate. It was therefore decided to make classroom recordings towards the end of the project to match some of the units and to connect these recordings directly to the units so those interested could actually see an assessment practice in operation. Each video lasts between 10 and 15 minutes and are currently made available in English although some of the teaching practice shown is in the local language. Each video clip will be available for sub-titling should this be requested. The format is based on an interview with each teacher who described how and why a specific assessment approach was taken during the class. It shows assessment actually taking place and highlights the practical considerations that need to be taken by teachers in implementing this type of approach. All recordings are now completed, edited and available for viewing on the legacy website. Taken together they provide a valuable resource for teacher education and are already proving to be very popular amongst the target audience proving the value of high-quality recordings of this type which bring to life what can be difficult concepts to understand when presented in text only.
4. Event recordings: In addition to these types of video recordings, the partners all used video fairly extensively to record key events including the International Teachers Conference in Dublin in June 2014 and the Final SAILS conference in Brussels in November 2015. Samples of these materials are available in the Sharing Practices section of the new legacy website and will continue to be added in the coming months.

Clustering, networking and collaboration have been a key activity and the partnership has achieved a number of important successes in this respect both in terms of relevant national and regional connections made as well as successes at a European level. Key amongst these has been the successful collaboration with Scientix and the establishment of close ties with projects involved specifically in assessment of IBSE. Shared activities have been carried out with Scientix, SIS-Catalyst, SECURE, Establish, InGenious, ASSIST-me, FaSMEd, Fibonacci, Pathway, Establish, IBEC and INSTEM.

All partners have been active in terms of networking, clustering and collaboration in their own countries. This has taken various forms and included the organisation of conferences aimed at stakeholders and decision-makers and participation in round-table discussions of a strategic nature related to science education. It also included sharing and promoting information about SAILS through relevant national channels and networks.

As well as engagement on the part of SAILS partners in a very high number of events including academic conferences, two highly successful SAILS events were organised. These were the SAILS/SMEC Conference for teachers organised in Dublin in June 2014 which attracted almost 300 teachers from all over Europe and the final SAILS Conference organised in the European Parliament aimed at stakeholders and decision-makers in Brussels in November 2015 which attracted 70 participants.

3.7.2 Participation at presentations/workshops/conferences

The second objective of the dissemination workpackage was to participate in presentations/workshops/conferences at national, European and international level to share project process/outcomes and examples of best practice in IBSE. All partners have been active with the dissemination of the project, including workshops and oral presentations at leading international science education conferences, such as GIREP, ESERA, ECRICE, IOSTE, Scientix, NARST and EMINENT. In addition the SAILS team have collaborated with other projects to present conference symposia and other activities, such as Scientix, SIS-Catalyst, SECURE, Establish, InGenious, ASSIST-me, FaSMEd, Fibonacci, Pathway, Establish, IBEC and INSTEM.

The full list of activities is described in SESAM and in final Report on Sails Dissemination Activities (D6.6).

3.7.3 Publication

The final objective of the dissemination workpackage was to publish articles/reports in journals, newsletters, newspapers, at national, European and international level to share project process/outcomes and examples of best practice in IBSE. More than 10 academic publications have already been published on the topic of SAILS . On top of that partners have also published extensively on subjects related to SAILS where SAILS has been mentioned, a full list is available in Annex 8 of D6.6: Report on Sails Dissemination Activities. Other articles, based on SAILS will be prepared for publication by the SAILS team in the coming months and so the number of publications is expected to increase over the coming period.

SAILS Deliverable: “Report on Sails Dissemination Activities” (D6.6).

3.8 MANAGEMENT

The SAILS consortium has collaborated to achieve the aims and objectives of the project. The expertise provided by the consortium incorporates inquiry based methodologies and the use of technology in a realistic and useful manner in the classroom. In addition, individual members of the consortium are internationally recognised experts in the areas of assessment and curriculum development. The project was designed so that each beneficiary was involved in all work packages including management. This has proved to be successful in terms of sharing best practices in inquiry, assessment and teacher education between partners and thus raising all partners’ expertise.

The coordinator was responsible for the co-ordination of project activities including project administration, financial management and project reporting, project progress communication with all participants via the Project Steering Committee (PSC) and in a General Assembly along with project progress communication with European Commission (EC) and liaison with the EAP. The project activities/tasks were presented over 7 work packages (WP) with WP leaders assigned to coordinate the participants contributing to the specific WP; to ensure the tasks, milestones and deliverables of the WP are carried out in a timely fashion and to high quality standards as approved by the PSC and to act as first escalation level for issues arising within the WP.

The Project Steering Committee (PSC), comprised of a representative from each beneficiary and the WP leaders, led the implementation of workpackages and communication with all participants. A subset of the PSC formed the scientific committee. This group performed ongoing internal evaluation of the progress of tasks and objectives, offered suggestions for improved collaboration and reported on a regular basis to the General Assembly.

External evaluation of the project, its products and processes were carried out by the EAP. The EAP were chosen due to their expertise in fields such as teacher education, assessment, inquiry and provided feedback at key stages of the project.

The development of SAILS assessment framework and inquiry and assessment units was enhanced through the external input of experts in inquiry teaching and assessment.
Prof. Jens Dolin joined the SAILS EAP in January 2014 and provided feedback on his evaluation of the SAILS Assessment materials Part A in D7.1: Report from EAP on assessment materials (Part A). He attended the General Assembly meeting in Szeged in May 2014, presenting his findings and contributing to the discussions on SAILS assessment materials.

Prof. Debra McGregor joined the EAP to act as a reviewer in September 2014 to review TEP Stage One and continued in this role to review TEP Stage Two and the CoP. She attended TEPs at Dublin, Lisbon and the UK to observe the professional development programmes and to provide an external viewpoint on the implementation of the TEPs. She attended and presented the results of her reviews at General Assembly meetings in Athens (October 2014) and Dublin (October 2015). The results of her evaluation of the TEPs are presented in D7.2: Report from EAP on Teacher Education- Stage 1 and D7.4: Report from EAP on Teacher Education Programme and CoP.

Prof. Bronwen Cowie joined the EAP in December 2014 as an advisor for the SAILS Assessment materials Part B. She attended the SAILS General Assembly meetings in Hannover (March 2015) and Dublin (October 2015) to feedback her findings to the General Assembly. In her report, submitted as D7.3: Report from EAP on assessment materials (Part B), she reviewed the structure and focus of the case studies of practice that have been developed by teachers who have taught the SAILS units. She also contributed to the final EAP deliverable – D7.4: Report from EAP on Teacher Education Programme and CoP where she reports on her review of the SAILS Assessment Framework.

Prof. William McComas, was engaged as the final member of the EAP in April 2015 and he provided a review of the overall project’s progress and products and compared these to the project objectives as outlined in the Annex I- Description of Work. He attended the SAILS General Assembly meetings in Malmo (June 2015) and presented his initial findings after reviewing several of the key SAILS Deliverable Reports. Over the last few months of the projects he received draft and final versions of all the SAILS deliverables and products, e.g. legacy project website and SAILS Units. His completed report has been submitted as part of the SAILS Period Three Project Report.

Potential Impact:
4. Impact

The overall aim of the SAILS project was to support and advance the use of inquiry-based science education across Europe. The SAILS project has achieved this objective through a unified approach of implementing three key components for transforming classroom practice, i.e. teacher education, curriculum and assessment around an IBSE pedagogy. The SAILS professional development programmes in inquiry and assessment have increased teachers’ confidence in changing their classroom practice, have demonstrated the value of an inquiry approach on students’ learning and have described appropriate strategies for assessing inquiry skills and competences.

The impact of the SAILS project is discussed in the following sections terms of the impact on teachers (Section 4.1) and the impact on the project partners and national networks (Section 4.2). The impact of dissemination and sharing practices activities on the wider community, including teacher educators, policy makers and researchers is presented in Section 4.3. The sustained impact and legacy of the SAILS project is discussed in Section 4.4, Exploitation of Results. Finally Section 4.5 presents including remarks on the impact of the SAILS project and implications for future work in IBSE and assessment.

4.1 IMPACT ON TEACHERS

Through the collaborative efforts of the SAILS team, this project has achieved its project objectives to support teachers in implementing inquiry in their classrooms and in developing strategies to assess the inquiry skills of their students. Key to this was to increase the competence and confidence of the teachers in the assessment of their students learning through inquiry. 2,724 teachers (1,349 in-service teachers and 1,375 pre-service teachers) have participated in SAILS teacher education programmes during the lifetime of the project, from across the 12 partner countries, these varied in terms of their prior experience with IBSE and in terms of their national and cultural backgrounds. Approximately half of the participants were in-service teachers with the remainder at the earliest stages of their teacher education (pre-service) programmes. Therefore, it was important throughout the project that the resources, strategies, frameworks and teacher education programmes developed throughout the project would be adaptable to account for the diversity of backgrounds and cultural contexts of the teachers and were appropriate for both pre-0serviece and in-service teachers. To this end, a group of pilot teachers were identified in each country whom were experienced in teaching through inquiry (referred to as Pilot Teachers), whom worked closely with the partners in developing and trialling materials in the classroom. The impact on these teachers will be discussed separately from that on the rest of the teacher group.

4.1.1 Impact on pilot teachers

The pilot teachers were the first to trial and adapt the inquiry and assessment strategies with their classes. These teachers participated in regular meetings with the SAILS teams in their countries and through discussions, their own knowledge and understanding of inquiry and assessment strategies increased. Many were also involved in reporting through the case studies. Analysis of the case studies as reported in the “Report on finalised evaluation materials for teacher education in IBSE with integrated assessment” (D3.3) and feedback from partners showed that the experience of piloting SAILS Units was a useful professional development experience for these teachers.

The pilot teachers were involved in articulating and discussing the student learning in their classrooms. They were able to give students more control over their learning and acted as facilitators of this learning. A Portuguese teacher reported that “Students work in groups in order to address the questions and problem. This means that in an inquiry lesson the students are more autonomous and responsible for their learning while the teacher guides and facilitates.” In some classrooms, the teachers developed peer-assessment exercises that allowed students to map their progress in developing inquiry skills and to target what they might do to improve in the next inquiry lesson. Two key characteristics of the SAILS approach have been observed: students are more involved in the active learning process; and students developed lifelong skills critical to thinking creatively, as they learn how to solve and discuss problems using logic and reasoning.

Through involvement in completion of case studies, the teachers became much more aware of opportunities for learning within the inquiry and of the assessment opportunities. SAILS approaches have enabled teachers to both observe what students could do and to hear the reasons why students took certain decisions. It also revealed the range of inferences students made from their data and how students interpreted their results in terms of their scientific understanding. The teachers had more opportunities to assess their students’ developing skills and understanding during the inquiry process and reported that it helped them get a clearer view of how students were doing and also what students needed to help them progress. The opportunity to learn new things about students understanding is captured here by an Irish teacher undertaking the Speed unit with her class; “I was surprised by the volume of questions generated and was equally impressed by the quality and relevance of the questioning and planning.” Students were noted as being ‘excited to impart information’ and ‘engaged in open and active discussion’. The teacher goes on to comment on this engagement and high levels of motivation, ‘they actually questioned other students’ planning activities with a lot of ‘what if…’ and ‘but if you…’ type questions’. A similar reaction happened in one of the Hungarian classrooms:
“My students enjoyed working on the activity … and were good at working together. The three boys in one of the groups caused the greatest surprise because, while they tend to be quiet and moderately active in regular classes, they were now very lively and motivated and I got to know a different side of them.”

Many of the pilot teachers participated in the European SAILS Teacher Conference held in Dublin where they shared their experiences with an international group of teachers, educators and researchers. For many, it was their first time to present their work in inquiry and to be involved in sharing and collaborating at a European level. This sharing of practices greatly increased the confidence these pilot teachers in the use of inquiry and assessment strategies. Additionally, now at the end of the SAILS project, there is a national cohort of expert teachers that can lead and inform further teacher education within their own countries.

4.1.2 Impact on teachers who attended TEP

In all, 2,724 teachers (1349 in-service teachers and 1375 pre-service teachers) have attended the SAILS TEPs over the duration of this project. These were a heterogeneous grouping with differing prior experiences with inquiry in their classrooms and varying attitudes and understanding as to the nature of inquiry and of its assessment. Therefore in developing the TEP programme, it had to cater for this diverse grouping as well as accounting for the national and cultural differences within the project.

The approach taken in developing the SAILS TEP programme was highlighted by the EAP member (Professor Bill McComas) as:
“The development of Teacher Education Programs (TEPs) is vital if we are to significantly enhance IBSE through assessment. This commentator finds the action plan developed and enacted by the SAILS team to be exemplary particularly because of its comprehensive nature and the “scaffolding” that it entails. The development of the action plan took great consideration of the whole picture of IBSE and assessment of IBSE through the Core Elements. This step-by-step process would certainly be the recommended process to engage the diverse educators and policymakers who may or may not know much about IBSE and the possible modes of assessment that inquiry science engenders.”

There were three core-elements within the final SAILS TEPs; however, each partner had the flexibility to implement their own TEP around these three core elements. This allowed for flexibility depending on the local situation such as curriculum, teacher experience etc. One of the core elements in the SAILS TEPs was to provide teachers with opportunities to develop their own inquiry lessons either individually or collaboratively. The CoP has been used to support the development of these lessons and to share these with local teachers. Resources shared by teachers in the CoP show how the teachers changed classes they had taught in essentially the same way for many years, to being more student-centred, more inquiry-based, and with a greater prominence for student discussion and less teacher-led dialogue. UK teachers reported overwhelmingly that the students learnt well, enjoyed the activities and were involved in inquiry lessons. ‘Students become more resilient and self-aware. They learnt a lot even though they were not used to inquiry, and they really enjoyed it'. In general the increased engagement of students in inquiry lessons, as compared to traditional lessons was noted. A UK teachers that his/her students reported that they enjoyed the inquiry lessons more; 'Yeah, there're much better, you can do things and you don't have the teacher telling you what to do all the time', and 'I really enjoyed that, you can talk and it doesn't matter if you go wrong, you can think about it'.

The effect of the final TEP on teachers was evaluated quantitatively through use of pre- and post-questionnaires. Analysis of this data for in-service teachers showed that all participating teachers’ understanding of inquiry changed significantly following the TEP. Additionally, the confidence level of teachers in assessing inquiry practices increased following the TEP.
Before participating in the TEPs, practices where the focus of control was with the student did not frequently occur (e.g. allowing students to design their own procedures or determining the data to collect). Within the context of assessment of learning and assessment for learning, teachers may need further support in giving feedback to student in a format that can drive student learning forward.

A similar analysis of the impact on pre-service teachers (PST) considered the pre-service teachers with teaching experience (PSTW) answering about their practice, while the group with no teaching experience (PSTWO) were questioned on whether they valued the inquiry practices in the classroom. All of these PSTs understanding of inquiry changed significantly towards a more comprehensive understanding following the TEP. Over 60% of the PSTW teachers state that they practiced some elements of inquiry frequently in their classroom, practices such as ‘students developing their own conclusions from investigations’ or ‘students have opportunities to talk and listen to each other in the inquiry classroom’. However, half (or less) of these teachers were confident in their assessment of these inquiry skills. Following the TEP, their confidence has increased, particularly for elements such as ‘students justify their conclusions’ or ‘present their results and conclusions from investigations’.

Therefore the SAILS project has been shown to have increased the confidence and competence of these teachers in inquiry and in its assessment. There is now a cohort of teachers in each country who can influence others in terms of implementing inquiry practices. In several countries, SAILS teachers have presented their work at national conferences to share their experiences with inquiry and assessment (UK, Ireland, Sweden, and Portugal). A number of teachers have also been encouraged through their participation in SAILS to further their professional development by engaging in postgraduate education.

However, the impact of SAILS TEPs goes beyond those that directly participated in the workshops. Many of the teachers that participated in SAILS TEPs have shared their experiences with colleagues in their schools who had not attended SAILS workshops, and some even have designed classes together. One example of this is a mid-to-late career Irish teacher who came to the SAILS workshops to look for ways to revive his teaching that he felt had become stale. He then spent the summer rethinking and redesigning science lessons for 12-15 year olds in his school. Less than a month into the next school year, he and a colleague had set up a Science club for students that meets weekly to do extracurricular science-related activities. Together with the woodwork teacher, he has facilitated students to construct a three-dimensional food pyramid out of wood and populate it themselves with food items from the supermarket. He had carried out all of this pre-work in advance of implementing the Food labels unit with his students and is strongly encouraging his colleagues to also adopt this unit in their teaching. Another example of this broader impact was that of an English teacher who provided professional development training for the whole school staff, where the teachers looked at how they might translate the inquiry ideas into other subject areas.

The value of the SAILS approach to supporting teachers in implementing inquiry oriented assessment practices have been emphasised by the EAP members (Professor Debra McGregor and Professor Brownen Cowie) in their combined report (extract from SAILS deliverable D7.4). By developing and collating a collection of nineteen SAILS inquiry and Assessment Units and over 100 case studies has been integral to the success of these TEPs.

The implementation of the fresh SAILs approach demonstrated the value of garnering evidence through activities such as student discussion and explanation, student-made videos, peer and self-assessment. Teacher use of a range of assessment strategies allowed students with different strengths to gauge and monitor their own progress. The SAILS strategies enabled students to become aware of the more elusive inquiry skills such as the nature of their contribution to collaborative endeavours. Teachers involved with project over three years (rather than just one) were able to revise familiar activities to enact the SAILS inquiry approach.

The compilation of examples from different teachers and countries to illustrate the SAILS units in action has highlighted that there are many ways to achieve and demonstrate the same aspect of the inquiry process and hence many different ways to assess student learning. The project programme, designed to develop multiple case studies from each SAILS unit is both distinctive and innovative. It communicates a clear message that teachers are expected to adapt the SAILs resources to suit their circumstances and their students. What is also clear from the programme outcomes is that the participating countries and teachers within them not only enhanced and enriched their understandings and practices, but that SAILS has generated real momentum and commitment toward inquiry learning amongst teachers and researchers. Just as importantly, it has drawn in and attracted the interest of additional teachers, professional development providers and policy makers outside the project.

By illustrating that current project teacher’s practices range along a continuum, the SAILS work emphasises that teachers need time and support to develop and implement science inquiries, in which teaching and assessment become mutually supportive for student learning and the mastery of inquiry skills. Adjusting teaching and assessment into the more dynamic and iterative process that SAILS envisaged, can more effectively support inquiry learning. When teaching and assessment are enacted in this more responsive and integrated way classroom learning becomes revitalised and transformative.

A core aspect of the SAILS project has been the development of a SAILS Community of Practice (CoP) of teachers, researchers and teacher educators. Teachers that have participated in SAILS TEPs have become active members of both national and internal CoP. In this way, a sustainable CoP has been developed in each country that will continue after the lifetime of the project. International collaboration between SAILS teachers has already started with three Irish teachers, three from Portugal and four from the UK came together in October 2015 to develop new draft SAILS units. These ten teachers have maintained communication and development of these units using social media and email communication. The three Portuguese teachers subsequently visited Dublin in December 2015 for further collaboration and contributed to the assessment practice in a lower secondary classroom doing one of the SAILS units. Other examples of this continued engagement include the development of a special edition of a German teachers’ journal in collaboration with SAILS teachers on inquiry and assessment units developed as part of the German TEP, plans for future TEP programmes and meetings with national stakeholders and recruitment of SAILS teachers for new projects.

4.2 IMPACT ON NATIONAL NETWORKS

From the beginning of the project, partners in each country identified a national stakeholder reference group. This group, composed of teachers and representatives of stakeholder organizations including teacher educators, science education researchers, curriculum developers, quality assurance and educational governance communities, were engaged with throughout the project and updated regularly with project results and findings. This was led by the lead national partner in each country with communication through the SAILS newsletter, brochures, email, face-to-face meetings, organization of workshops and seminars.

Through this process, partners have extended their networks with local teachers and these networks will be maintained after the end of the project, with plans for future training programmes, research collaborations and recruitment for new projects already underway. Engagement with local policy and decision makers has informed these stakeholders on IBSE and the value of assessing inquiry skills and this, in some cases, has influenced changes in the national curriculum and assessment systems. For example, in Ireland, a new inquiry based curriculum is being introduced in science at lower second-level. The experiences and resources of the SAILS project has helped to inform the development of the assessment strategies and also the associated teacher education programmes. In Portugal, the lead partner was invited to take part in a webinar to showcase the results of the project on a national platform. This webinar is available at http://webinar.dge.mec.pt/2015/12/03/formar-professores-em-inquiry-e-avaliacao-projeto-sails/. In Turkey, the Ministry of Education facilitated the roll-out of the SAILS project to 5 cities and invited the lead partner to host a large STEM conference which will be run again next year.

Inspired by the success of the SAILS European conference, many partners have held national conferences. Teachers sharing their experiences with the SAILS project, implementing inquiry and assessing their students’ inquiry skills formed the focus of these conferences and provided a platform for partners and teachers to promote the work of SAILS to national stakeholders such as other teachers, teacher educators, researchers in science education and representatives of the education authorities.

Partners were surveyed on the impact of the SAILS project on a national basis. Involvement in the SAILS project has increased partners’ own knowledge of inquiry and assessment, promoted better internal collaboration within teams and the role of science education within institutions, improved and extended teacher training for pre- and in-service teachers’ programmes in inquiry and assessment, and increased engagement with local teachers and other national stakeholders. New accredited programs at universities requiring IBSE training have been developed (e.g. Slovakia and Portugal). In many cases, research was carried out in parallel to the SAILS project and inspired Master and PhD theses.

Some highlights from these impact reports are described below, by country:

Belgium: The Belgium TEP programme was not foreseen in the original project proposal; the Belgium partner ATIT, unlike the other partners is not directly linked to a Teacher Training Institute. Nevertheless, teacher educators in Flanders showed a lot of interest in the SAILS project therefore it was felt that running a SAILS TEP in Belgium would be beneficial. Teacher educators in Belgium had already taken part or collaborated in other European Projects around IBSE such as the SECURE project and they were looking for good practice and materials to encourage teachers to reflect on their practice and in particular to provide them the tools to change their assessment methods. SAILS came at a good time to respond to their needs. In this way, SAILS provided an opportunity to take IBSE and assessment of inquiry skills to the next level in Flemish Schools. The SAILS TEP in Belgium was run in the final year of the project and so benefitted from the results of the piloting stages in the other partner countries. A member of the DCU team facilitated the workshops in cooperation with three Belgian teacher educators. These workshops were organized and hosted by ATiT.

Denmark: Traditionally in-service teacher training in Denmark is structured as one or two days of intense introduction to the topic but without any follow up on the content. The opportunity to work on development between the workshops, as in the SAILS TEP, was particularly fruitful for the participating teachers. In this way the SAILS TEP was a new structure for in-service teacher training and it was said to be better than the traditional approach. During the SAILS project the national curriculum at lower second level was changed in the direction of skills and competencies instead of content knowledge. The in-service training was therefore very fruitful for teachers in adopting the new curriculum and it is planned to continue workshops on IBSE and assessment after the end of the SAILS project.

Germany: In the teacher workshops organized by the SAILS-team at Leibniz Universität Hannover, the teachers tried out and adapted SAILS-units as well as developing new units for their science lessons to foster inquiry learning and formative assessment. In total more than 30 new inquiry units/tasks were developed during the teacher workshops. Those units are all trialled in school and adapted to the curriculum in Lower Saxony. The German SAILS beneficiary will publish a special edition of a German teachers’ journal with articles from the SAILS teachers. Through this journal, we aim to inspire German teachers to change their practices towards inquiry and formative assessment.
Also, at LUH the physics education curricula for students has changed. The topics assessment (formative/summative) and inquiry learning are now an integral part in the Bachelor degree that will continue beyond the lifetime of SAILS. A special course for Master students on projects in inquiry learning has been held twice since 2014 and will be offered every few years. Professional development courses (workshops) for in-service teachers on the basis of the SAILS-workshops are planned for the future.

Greece: Postgraduate programs at three universities have enriched related courses with the topic of “inquiry science learning and new assessment methods” and are using SAILS materials. These new topics have been added into the curriculum of the postgraduate course “Instructional Design using New Technologies” offered at the MSc program on e-learning of the Department of Digital systems at University of Piraeus, the curriculum of the postgraduate course module "Applied Pedagogy" offered by the MSc Program "Educational Technology and Development of Human Resources", organized by the University of Athens and the Piraeus University of Applied Science and the course “Educational Evaluation” which is taught at the pedagogical training programme offered by ASPETE (School of Pedagogical and Technological Education).

Hungary: A new in-service programme has been developed for inquiry and assessment. Within this programme, a large number of inquiry and assessment resources have been developed which can be shared with a wider community of teachers and which can inspire teachers to develop similar resources.

Ireland: Following on from the SAILS TEPs in Ireland, the DCU team will facilitate its annual teachers Summer School on IBSE and assessment. This will be the cornerstone of ongoing engagement and communication with in-service teachers interested in IBSE and assessment of inquiry learning in science. The SAILS project has also had a big influence on pre-service science teacher education courses in Dublin City University. Firstly, the academics themselves now have a greater understanding of a broader range of inquiry goals and activities, and this has influenced their teaching of future teachers greatly. Not only are many SAILS units and activities now embedded in the modules these pre-service teachers take, many other activities are indirectly informed by this. Furthermore, some of the pre-service teachers have developed their Masters dissertations into studies on the implementation of inquiry and assessment.

Poland: At the Jagiellonian University, a number of projects under the 7th EU Framework Programme have been implemented. The beginning of the IBSE implementation and teacher training in that area are associated with the implementation of the Fibonacci project at the JU Faculty of Physics and the ESTABLISH project at the JU Faculty of Chemistry. As part of those projects, the first curricula for pre-service and in-service teachers in the field of IBSE have been developed. The implementation of the SAILS project allowed further development of the previously created programmes and to supplement them with the elements of the assessment of students working with that method. Currently, the model developed of students’ education in the field of IBSE is an integral element of didactic courses. Therefore, it may be concluded that the education of students in that area will be continued, even though the project has already been completed.
The training sessions for in-service teachers carried out as part of the SAILS project were attended by more than 200 teachers from across Poland, representing various levels and profiles of education. As a result, we managed not only to convey knowledge and skills in the field of IBSE, but also to create a community of people who are convinced of the high value of those methods and who want to use them in practice. An evaluation survey was used with the last cohort of in-service teachers. A basic analysis of this survey indicates that the IBSE methodology is new and interesting for teachers. The fact is confirmed, for example, by the participation of over 70 teachers who have completed the training under the SAILS project in a national conference summarizing the project. During the conference, the teachers presented their achievements in the application of IBSE, materials developed, students' reactions, etc., which was met with great approval of other participants.

Portugal: The impact on Portuguese teachers was very positive. They demonstrated an interest in SAILS TEPs with an active participation and engaging discussions. The workshop format allowed the exchange of experiences between teachers and collaborative work, which contributed to the promotion of a more critical and reflective action.
“The training held in face-to-face sessions and in parallel with the CoP, highlighted several points, including sharing activities/training sessions focused on the development of inquiry tasks as well as the accomplishment of experiments whose core objective is the context of inquiry tasks and assessment. It is to mention that such exchange of experiences and materials between all participants through the CoP was quite enriching and positive enabling a broader view on the potential and constraints of implementing inquiry activities.” (Portuguese Teacher)

The SAILS project has also provided the opportunity for teachers to develop their work and to be recognised by the international partners and peers. The development of the TEP was effective in that the first TEP provided knowledge and experience and those teachers then returning to the second TEP, brought their experiences to the next TEPs. The activities had been discussed and applied previously in schools so the teachers who attended the new courses could hear from other teachers’ experience. This was a very significant way to get together the academic research and teachers practice.

Quotes from teachers’ individual written reflections:
“Another aspect I noted was the cooperation between the different working groups, which arose spontaneously and often by students over irregular academic performance. (…) I observed that in general the students throughout the year revealed major difficulties with the scientific content and more formal assessment were the ones that showed the best performance in terms of development and involvement in the tasks required. (Teacher A)
Feedback is essential for students to achieve the goals. During the activity was through the feedback that helped/guided the most students to successively overcome the different stages of their work, and used, in many cases, little questions that students were responding after search; other times were the students who made the questions so as to draw their doubts that were emerging during the search moments. I consider that the application of inquiry tasks makes a difference in the final results, because students feel more involved and motivated. The use of this methodology also helps fight indiscipline, apart from making the learning more close to everyday life”. (Portuguese Teacher)

Slovakia: In 2013, as part of a European City of Culture Project, a science exhibition centre was established in Kosice. It was a result of cooperation between U.S. Steel Košice and scientific institutions - Technical University in Košice, University P. J. Šafárik and Slovak Academy of Sciences. As part of this centre, an inquiry science laboratory was designed. The aim of the inquiry lab is to provide space for students from secondary schools to come and participate at inquiry activities. There is a selection of activities offered for teachers to apply. The activities are usually enhanced by digital tools (measuring with sensors) and they are complemented by self-assessment tools. The activities have been adapted from already existing activities by pre-service physics teachers. The activities in the lab are led also by pre-service teachers who have taken part in pre-service education on IBSE and assessment. Up to now there were about 3000 upper secondary school students participating in different inquiry activities there. The teaching materials used in the lab are offered to teachers to use in their own classrooms.

Sweden: In Sweden, evidence has been collected of teacher adaptations of existing SAILS units and teachers’ own original inquiry activities (including samples of student work).
The following units have been translated and adapted to Swedish conditions: Natural selection, Plant nutrition and Up there – How is it?
Teachers have developed a number of their own inquiry activities, some of which has been developed into SAILS units): Hearing protection in school, Energy sources, Sports nutrition, Global warming and Using scientific information about water.
Towards the end of the project, these experiences were shared with Danish SAILS teachers at the joint Swedish/Danish conference which was held in Odense in November 2015. SAILS units have been translated into Swedish and these will be shared with teachers after the end of the project.

Turkey: The main impact of the SAILS project in Turkey has been on in-service and pre-service teachers. More than 300 in-service teachers in 5 different cities have involved in SAILS workshops. Two 2-day workshops on inquiry-based science teaching (IBST) and assessment were held in Ankara, Kocaeli, Van, Kayseri and Adana. SAILS resources were delivered to wider audiences at four national conferences. Two SAILS books were translated into Turkish and will be available in use for teachers in December 2015. In September 2015, SAILS Teacher Conference (STEM teacher conference (SAILS - Strategies for Assessment of Inquiry Learning in Science)) was organized in conjunction with “STEM & Makers Fest/Expo” in Ankara. Around 2000 participants from 3 years old have attended and engaged with IBSE activities. Around 700 teachers have participated in 26 workshops. Many EU-funded projects and national projects were presented in a workshop format. This event influenced many stakeholders and researchers to re-orient their practical communication efforts around the cultivation of dialogue between STEM and the public. (Url: http://www.stemandmakers.com)

United Kingdom: The teachers were fully engaged in the TEP sessions and reported that they learnt many aspects of inquiry and its assessment from SAILS. All teachers trialled inquiry activities that they had been introduced to on the TEP with their classes; some teachers shared the ideas with other teachers in their schools and a few developed their own inquiry activities. Several of the teachers helped in the dissemination of SAILS by taking lead roles in some of our workshops. One teacher also organised a professional development session for the whole school staff, where the teachers looked at how they might translate the inquiry ideas into other subject areas. This not only created interest in the project but also guaranteed sustainability beyond the time frame of the project.
Further dissemination to international and national science educators will be achieved through a series of workshops at the Association for Science Education (ASE) annual conference January 2016 and the STEM Learning Centres in the UK, other universities and through clusters of schools throughout the year.

4.3 DISSEMINATION AND SHARING PRACTICES

From the beginning of the SAILS project, dissemination and sharing practices was considered to be very important to the success and impact of the project. To this end, a dissemination audit was completed by the partners in the first few months. This audit gathered as much information from the partners as possible about existing channels and opportunities for dissemination and in refining the different channels and tools to be used for the dissemination work. The data collected was then updated constantly to ensure that any leaflets and other outputs from the project could be directed to the relevant people. This led to the results of the SAILS project been widely disseminated at National, European and International levels, at conferences, seminars and meetings.

A series of brochures and leaflets were prepared at critical stages during the project, which were distributed widely to the dissemination list. Additionally, resources and presentations were made through the Scientix platform and at Scientix conferences, e.g. Eminent in Barcelona in October 2015. These conferences gave opportunities to present the outputs of the project to those attending – who are a policy makers, educators, academics, teachers, industrialists etc. Also, they gave opportunities to share ideas in a more informal way with those attending.

Sharing practices was a key theme for our dissemination activities. A highlight to sharing practices during the project was the International SAILS Teacher Conference held in conjunction with the SMEC conference in DCU. At this conference, SAILS teachers from each country came together and gave presentations on their classroom practice, their experiences and shared their ideas for further implementations of inquiry and assessment. Not only were they sharing their ideas with other teachers, but also with other educators at the conference e.g. 3rd level lecturers, researchers and policy makers. The Teacher Conference was a major success of the project and so much so that many countries then held National Teacher Conferences to launch the outputs of the SAILS project.

Arising from the conference, teachers were willing to share their experiences and practice on video and hence, on the SAILS website now, there is a section on Sharing Practices which is populated with videos of teachers in their classrooms teaching though inquiry and assessing their students. These videos show inquiry in action and are very powerful in disseminating the message to other teachers who were not involved in the project.

All of the outputs from SAILS are now available on the SAILS website. The website has been restructured to allow for easy access to all of the resources that were developed. Key to the structure was to enable the viewer to get easy access to illustrative examples of inquiry and assessment. All of the material on the website can be easily downloaded.

Additionally, the SAILS Inquiry and Assessment Units have been published in printed format by several of the partners and have been distributed widely to teachers in each country (e.g. in Ireland, two printed copies of the SAILS Units have been sent to each second-level school in the country).

While the impact of all of the various dissemination activities may be difficult to quantify in terms of the effect on teachers, educators, stakeholders, etc., the scale of the dissemination can be noted in terms of the audience/target numbers achieved.
• Website – unique visitors to mid-December 2015 - 29,657
• Participation on the SAILS CoP – unique members - 1,410
• Presentations at scientific events: Estimated audience >18500
• Presentations at events for the wider public: Estimated audience >6500
• Poster presentations: Estimated audience >7300
• Flyers: >11500 distributed

All dissemination activities have been reported on through SESAM and a complete listing can be found in the final report on Sails Dissemination Activities” (D6.6).

4.4 EXPLOITATION OF RESULTS

The SAILS Assessment Framework has focussed on the inquiry skills of developing hypothesis, planning and implementing investigations, working collaboratively and forming coherent arguments as well as the broader skills of scientific reasoning and literacy. It presents strategies for assessing these skills and competencies and illustrates the assessment of these skills through examples from classrooms across Europe. SAILS has increased the knowledge on the appropriate assessment of inquiry teaching and learning. In their joint report (within D7.4: Report from EAP on Teacher Education Programme and CoP), Prof. Bronwen Cowie and Prof. Debra McGregor commented on the importance of the approach adopted by the SAILS team in increasing pedagogic knowledge.
“The SAILS approach required teachers to trial, reflect on and reconceive both their own, and their students’ assessment of the learning processes involved in inquiry learning. The multi-country case studies compare and contrast the development of teachers’ understanding and awareness of the nature of science and science inquiry and how this might be made visible and valued within the classroom. Through trialling the SAILS inquiry units it has become apparent how control of learning can be relocated from the teacher to the student. Teachers were often surprised and then impressed with the imaginative and innovative suggestions that their students could make.”

The SAILS units relate to classroom practice and include examples of assessment items and assessment criteria. They contain ready-to-use learning aids, greatly enriched by models of how teachers may support their students with frequent and personalised feedback when they are engaged in biology, chemistry and physics inquiries. The case studies within the units present a strong case for the positive effects of inquiry based teaching on students’ learning.
These materials have been implemented successfully in at least three European countries showing the flexibility and potential broader use outside the partner countries. In examining the way in which the project achieved this core aim of enhancing existing IBSE teaching and learning materials by incorporating inquiry assessment strategies and frameworks has been observed by the EAP Evaluator (Prof William McComas):

“Overall, this is an ingenious strategy for unit development because of the cross-cultural (national) teams, real-world trials and case study analysis and clearly resulted in high quality products. Needless to say, such a model for unit development is expensive but is still highly recommended, even at a reduced level perhaps with a focus of units produced for just one nation or region.”

High quality IBSE materials and resources has been developed which include a range of assessment strategies that teachers can use for the assessment of inquiry skills and competencies. The units provide clear examples for teachers of how inquiry skills can be assessed alongside content knowledge, scientific literacy and scientific reasoning. They show how evidence of student learning can be collected and evaluated using a variety of methods such as classroom dialogue, teacher observation, presentations, peer-assessment, self-assessment, student artefacts, and use of assessment rubrics. The case studies within the SAILS units highlight to teachers that a variety of assessment strategies is both necessary and required for assessing inquiry learning in science. This point was highlighted as being a particular strength in the assessment materials by Prof. Bronwen Cowie, EAP for Assessment

“The case studies and case study analysis makes it clear that there are many different ways to achieve and demonstrate the same aspect of the inquiry process and hence there are many different ways to assess /make visible the same aspect. This leads to the merit in teachers using a variety of assessment tools.”

SAILS inquiry and assessment materials are available on the legacy project website, have been printed and distributed to teachers in several countries (Belgium, Denmark, Ireland) and are available/will be available in several languages (Danish, English, Polish, Turkish, Portuguese). They can be used by teachers, researchers and teacher educators for further research and study and within teacher education programmes The SAILS inquiry and assessment units are provided in a downloadable e-book format on the project website. Supporting materials such as student worksheets, rubrics and assessment items are also provided and these can be edited and adapted by teachers. This was considered to be particularly valuable by Prof. Cowie and she commented that:

“Teacher adaptation of the material provided through SAILS is valued. This is an important, and in my view essential message given differences across the participating countries and because of the increase in diversity of student backgrounds and experiences to be found within schools and individual classrooms. It sends a strong signal about the value of science teaching and assessment that is student-centred and responsive.”

The importance for sustained continuation and exploitation of both the SAILS outputs and approach has been highlighted by the EAP Evaluator (Prof William McComas):

“Clearly those individuals intimately involved will have benefitted in the design of new IBSE units (and assessment plans) that can serve as models for future development and forthcoming plans to engage and inform teachers. It is also reasonable to expect that those (such as policy makers) working with the country-teams will also be informed by SAILS. The challenge moving forward is to ensure that the instructional units and assessment plans developed continue to inform high quality science teaching. It would be a disservice to science education and to the large and diverse membership of the SAILS team if the results of this project will have informed only those closest to it.”

This might be done by continuing and even extending the Community of Practice started here, by extracting the most useful assessment practices developed and field tested by the SAILS participants and, above all, by sharing results as widely as possible. In part this might be accomplished through organizations such as Scientix and those in individual nations. SAILS leaders should also attempt to tap into the international network of science teacher educators potentially to inform practice in the education of future science teachers. In many ways, the work of SAILS has only just begun.

SAILS TEPs on inquiry and assessment have been developed, across twelve countries, which have been shown to be effective in increasing teachers’ confidence with implementing and assessing inquiry. These have been embedded within pre-service training programmes in beneficiary institutions and have also been rolled out to other national teacher training programmes in Denmark and Greece. As a result, the SAILS project will have a lasting impact on teacher training after the end of the project as new teachers are trained each year in SAILS approach to inquiry and assessment. These programmes have been disseminated at national and international conferences and are available on the legacy website. It is hoped that these materials will be used by external parties within their in-service and pre-service programmes. The UK team have made their SAILS TEP programme available as open access resources on the Kings College University portal. This programme includes a booklet with resources to guide professional development providers through the process of running an effective teacher education programme, a teacher Inquiry Diary and a USB card - containing publications, power-point slides, resource sheets and a pod-cast from one of the original project teachers. Together they provide everything that is necessary to replicate four three hour TEP sessions over a year.

In Belgium, there are already plans to use the SAILS inquiry and assessment units in professional development programmes for teachers to promote teachers’ use of Assessment for Learning (AfL). The team at UPRC has plans to develop an open-access on-line course for Greek teachers using the SAILS materials with the aim that teachers will develop inquiry and assessment resources and share these with the participants of this course. Other partners have scheduled in-service training programmes for 2016 which will be based on SAILS results and materials.

New projects are also evolving from SAILS e.g. in Poland, two new projects have started in which the teacher training components developed in the SAILS project are used. Both of these involve teachers who have participated in the SAILS project and previous projects as well. Due to the knowledge and experience they gained through the participation in these projects, they can act as tutors and assist their colleagues in applying IBSE. These are the 1) IRRESISTIBLE FP7 project which promotes the use of IBSE in the context of RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation), nanotechnology and informal education and 2) the Academic Center of Creativity, where teacher training in the field of IBSE is carried out.
In Slovakia, as a result of experience gained within the SAILS projects, national projects focused on IBSE are being developed at secondary and undergraduate level. The national project VEMIV is aimed at research on the effectiveness of innovative methods in mathematics, physics and informatics. Within the project, existing activities on IBSE adapted (developed within Establish, SAILS and other projects) are further developed and teacher training on IBSE is carried out. Additionally, there is an additional large-scale national project IT academy currently being prepared. The goal of this project is to improve education in informatics and science and mathematics at secondary level through wide-scale implementation of IBSE strategies enhanced by digital technologies. One of the project goals is to design an interdisciplinary subject aimed at inquiry science activities enhanced by digital technologies. The project will start in 2016 and will reach 60 lower secondary schools and 30 upper secondary schools and many more teachers in Slovakia.

Through the examples given above, it is clear that the results of the SAILS project are being exploited to further develop inquiry approaches and further teacher education in many of the partner countries. Additionally, policy makers are familiar with the outputs of the project and are aware of the possibilities of engaging teachers in the development process of sharing practices. Through provision of a clear website with materials and resources readily available, other teachers, teacher educators and other stakeholders are able to access the materials and trial them. By continuing the discussions around the implementation of inquiry practices, showing real examples of inquiry and assessment in action, then teachers may become more confident and competent in their use of inquiry practices.

4.5 CONCLUSIONS

The primary objective of the SAILS project was to support teachers to not only teach through inquiry but also to be confident and competent in assessment of inquiry skills and competencies. This has been achieved by development of suitable TEP programmes across all the partner countries, through development of SAILS Inquiry and Assessment Units, trialled in several countries, and through development of the SAILS Framework for Inquiry and Assessment. Particularly, the sharing of experiences and willingness to trial new ideas has led to the range of project outputs that will be of long-term benefit, even after the project has finished.

The overall aim of the SAILS project was to support and advance the use of inquiry-based science education across Europe. The SAILS project has achieved this objective through a unified approach of implementing three key components for transforming classroom practice, i.e. teacher education, curriculum and assessment around an IBSE pedagogy. The SAILS professional development programmes in inquiry and assessment have increased teachers’ confidence in changing their classroom practice; have demonstrated the value of an inquiry approach on students’ learning and have described appropriate strategies for assessing inquiry skills and competences.

The key findings from the project have been:
• Teaching and assessment considered as a dynamic and iterative process can effectively support inquiry learning.
• Learning science through inquiry can result in better understanding and more broadly
applicable scientific knowledge, along with transferrable skills and competencies.
• With time and support, teachers can develop their confidence and competence in adopting inquiry and assessment of inquiry learning in classroom practice.
• Sustained collaboration is crucial in science education-between teachers and educators and across borders, both classrooms and countries.

Finally, the EAP Evaluator (Prof William McComas) has highlighted:

“The key is not to allow SAILS innovations and insights to end with the conclusion of the formal phase of the project. It is now time to share the insights gained regarding IBSE by engaging and informing educators and their students beyond those fortunate enough to have been part of the Strategies for Assessment of Inquiry Learning in Science project”.

List of Websites:
www.sails-project.eu; odilla.finlayson@dcu.ie

Informations connexes

Contact

Odilla Finlayson, (Senior Lecturer)
Tél.: +35317005409
E-mail
Numéro d'enregistrement: 182126 / Dernière mise à jour le: 2016-05-17
Source d'information: SESAM