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Thursday, January 10 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Project Calibrate: A systemic approach to summative assessment of practical science (271)

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What makes plants grow? What are stars made of? Scientists answer such questions by collecting and interpreting data. Sometimes scientists use experiments where they change conditions and study the effects of changes. For instance, in the case of plant growth, the amount of sunlight and water can be manipulated to see if they make any difference. Sometimes scientists just observe phenomena and produce explanations without making any manipulations. For example, when astronomers observe galaxies, they classify data that they collect without making any interventions. Scientists, then, use different approaches to practical work as they make sense of phenomena. In doing practical work, scientists use techniques and materials. They observe and measure phenomena. They use the information from their investigations to reach conclusions. How are skills of doing practical science using such different aspects reflected in high stake examinations at GSCE level in England? What new examination questions can be designed to measure pupils’ understanding of different aspects of practical science and how they work together for coherent understanding of science?
The presentation reports on the activities of a Wellcome Trust funded project (grant number 209659/Z/17/Z) that addresses such questions about practical work by designing and testing new, robust and reliable examination questions that can be used for both summative and formative purposes. By combining assessment and professional development agendas in science education, the project aims to have a systemic approach to reform on assessment of practical science. The approaches to summative assessment including work with examiners as well as professional development strategies will be discussed.


Alison Cullinane

Department of Education, University of Oxford
avatar for Sibel Erduran

Sibel Erduran

Professor of Science Education, University of Oxford
Assessment of hands-on and minds-on practical science

Stephen Wooding

AQA Education

Thursday January 10, 2019 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Muirhead 113