Involving Science Teachers in the Development and Implementation of Assessment Tools for “Science for All” Type Curricula

Aug. 15, 2007

Source: Journal of Science Teacher Education, Volume 18, Number 4 / August, 2007 pp. 497-524

We describe a workshop in which 10 teachers from 10 schools, located in central Israel, participated in the development of alternative assessment tools in the context of implementing a new science curriculum for senior high-school students, namely “Science for All” (an STS type curriculum).

In order to assist a group of teachers (who began teaching the “Science for All” program) in both teaching and assessment strategies, it was decided that the Department of Science Teaching at the Weizmann Institute of Science would sponsor a workshop for them. An evaluation study was conducted during the workshop and at its completion.

The main goal of the study was to evaluate the outcomes of the workshop and to determine whether its objectives were attained. The research tools consisted of (a) an attitude questionnaire administered to participating teachers, (b) structured interviews with the teachers, (c) structured interviews with students, and (d) an attitude questionnaire administered to the students.

Based on the results of the questionnaires and the interviews, it seems that all the teachers who participated in the workshop gained self-confidence in using the teaching strategies and assessment methods of this new interdisciplinary curriculum. The interviews with students revealed that their active involvement in their own assessment improved their sense of responsibility for their achievements. The variety of assignments enabled them to be at their best with certain assignments and to succeed less with others. In conclusion, we found that running a new interdisciplinary curriculum requires a professional development program that will stimulate teachers’ creativity and diversify the instructional strategies that they use in the classroom. Such skills should improve their ability to understand the goals, strategies, and rationale of the curriculum, as well as their students’ learning difficulties.

Updated: Feb. 19, 2008