Assessing Science Content and Inquiry

prof. Erin Marie Furtak, Ph.D.
University of Colorado Boulder, USA

Science education constitutes both a body of knowledge, as well as ways of knowing . As we seek to engage students in science learning, then, we need to create opportunities for students to both learn the big ideas of science, as well as the process of generating that knowledge. This presents challenges for us as teachers to not only prioritize both of these goals, but to create, adapt, and use assessments that make space for students to show their grasp of inquiry practices - like building models, analyzing and interpreting data, and constructing arguments – as they demonstrate their scientific understandings. This challenge is related to larger debates in the field, which stem back decades: how can we assess content and inquiry at the same time? In this talk, I will discuss historical perspectives on how we assess content and inquiry, and then will examine frameworks for assessing content and inquiry together in both large-scale and classroom assessment.