AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

Exploring alternative assessment strategies in science classrooms.

by Nirmala D. Gopal

Institution: University of KwaZulu-Natal
Year: 2010
Keywords: Science – Study and teaching.; Educational tests and measurements.; Learning – Evaluation.; Outcomes-based education – South Africa.; Interactive assessment.; Social constructivism.
Record ID: 1428039
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10413/8444


The knowledge children bring to the classroom or construct in the classroom may find expression in a variety of activities and is often not measurable with the traditional assessment instruments used in science classrooms. Different approaches to assessment are required to accommodate the various ways in which learners construct knowledge in social settings. In our research we attempted to determine the types of outcomes achieved in a Grade 6 classroom where alternative strategies such as interactive assessments were implemented. Analyses of these outcomes show that the learners learned much more than the tests indicate, although what they learnt was not necessarily science. The implications for assessment are clear: strategies that assess knowledge of science concepts, as well as assessment of outcomes other than science outcomes, are required if we wish to gain a holistic understanding of the learning that occurs in science classrooms.