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Assess Inquiry in Science, Technology and Mathematics Education

Final Report Summary - ASSIST-ME (Assess Inquiry in Science, Technology and Mathematics Education)

Executive Summary:
Over the last decade, inquiry-based learning has been encouraged in schools across Europe but one of the factors inhibiting the successful implementation of this has been the lack of focus on the assessment approaches. All educational systems have witnessed a growing gap between the demands for new student competences like inquiry, innovation, creativity, communication – and the ability of the assessment methods to capture these new educational goals.

‘Assess Inquiry in Science, Technology and Mathematics’ (ASSIST-ME) has taken up this challenge. It is a research project with a societal impact that has investigated assessment methods aimed at supporting and improving inquiry-based approaches in European science, technology and mathematics (STM) education. The project had 10 partners from 8 countries and lasted from 2013 to 2016.

Based on an analysis of what is known about summative and formative assessment of knowledge, skills and attitudes related to key STM competences and an analysis of European educational systems, the project has designed four assessment methods able to capture key STM competences. These methods have been tested in primary and secondary schools in different educational cultures in Europe. The implementation has been researched in order to analyze the conditions that support or undermine the uptake of formative assessment related to inquiry processes. One overall driver in the project was, thus, to establish alignment between the learning goals, the pedagogy, and the assessment.

Another overall driver was to inform and influence policymakers to initiate educational changes in a direction that allows teachers to a more formative use of assessment instead of the dominating summative use. It was therefore a key aspect of the project to put together the three main players in the changing process: The teachers, the researchers, and the policy makers. This collaboration was managed through National Stakeholder Panels (NSPs) with representatives from industry, ministry, heads’ association, teachers’ association, media, Parliament, trusts etc., and through Local Working Groups (LWGs) with teachers teamed up with researchers.

The implementation of the assessment methods produced a variety of data for each assessment method and their use in the classroom. The resulting synthesis of opportunities and restrictions for implementing an assessment culture using both formative and summative approaches has be evaluated and discussed in NSPs and LWGs in order to formulate guidelines and recommendations for policy makers, curriculum developers, teacher trainers and other stakeholders on how to support this new drive for inquiry learning.

All information is accessible at the website, where you can also download a 16 pages booklet giving an overview of the project.

Project Context and Objectives:
A summary description of the project context and the main objectives can be seen in the attached file 'context and main objectives'
Project Results:
A description of the main S & T results/foregrounds can be seen in the attached file 'Main S & T results'
Potential Impact:
A description of the potential impact can be seen in the attached file 'Potentiel impact'
List of Websites:
Coordinator Jens Dolin: