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Assess Inquiry in Science, Technology and Mathematics Education

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New assessments for inquiry-based teaching

Educational goals are becoming ever-more ambitious, calling for advanced professional and generic abilities. European researchers are investigating certain assessment methods to support and improve inquiry-based approaches in science, technology and mathematics (STM) education.

Digital Economy

There is a substantial knowledge base regarding teaching material needed for the competences now in demand. However, predominant assessment and evaluation forms do not aptly capture these new goals, with most assessments still based on relatively traditional test formats and mostly summative assessments. This doesn't account for the learning potential of formative assessments. And since traditional assessment encourages 'traditional' teaching, there is an obstacle to the kind of teaching that will help students acquire the new learning goals. The 'Assess inquiry in science, technology and mathematics education' (ASSIST-ME) project is building a research base on effective uptake of formative and summative assessment for inquiry-based, competence-oriented STM education. It aims to design a range of combined assessment methods. These will be based on two main areas of analysis. The first is related to current knowledge regarding summative and formative assessment of knowledge, skills and attitudes related to key STM competences. The second concerns European educational systems. Researchers are considering the main challenges related to uptake of formative assessment in daily STM teaching practices and what changes are needed in summative assessment practices. Other areas of inquiry relate to how formative and summative assessment can be used together to promote learning in inquiry-based STM. Lastly, ASSIST-ME is interested in how research-based strategies for using formative/summative assessment can be adapted to different European educational traditions to ensure their use. Project work is being conducted across three phases, with the first relating to a synthesis of existing research. The second targets assessment methods design using formative and summative approaches, and implementing these in different educational contexts. In the third phase, results will be validated and shared with relevant stakeholders and expert groups. ASSIST-ME is collaborating with researchers, teachers and policymakers to ensure necessary changes in practice take place and to influence policy, research and implementation. Project partners will provide educational policymakers with evidence-based guidelines to facilitate implementation and changes promoting excellence in education and skills development within the field of STM. As such, ASSIST-ME will strive to ensure that the new assessment methods actually do enhance STM learning.

Keywords

Inquiry-based teaching, assessment and evaluation, formative assessments, 'science, technology and mathematics'

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