|M.Sc Student||Zimmerman Ifat|
|Subject||Using a Novel Protocol for the Development of Assessment|
Tasks that Diagnose Understanding of Biological
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Ms. Luli Stern|
Meaningful learning depends largely on teachers’ ability to assess students’ understanding at different points during the instruction, and modify future instruction accordingly. A recent systematic study of American science curriculum materials reveals that currently available textbooks do not satisfactorily support the assessment process. Additional studies have shown that there is no adequate guidance for teachers or for test developers to develop standard-based assessments.
Project 2061 of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has taken upon a major effort to address this issue by developing a multi-step, rigorous protocol for writing diagnostic assessment tasks.
In this study, Project 2061’s novel protocol was applied and tested for the first time. Key ideas related to evolution served as the basis for development of assessment tasks. The research sampled 167 high school students majoring in biology who were taught the topic of evolution. The findings demonstrate that using the Project 2061’s protocol high quality assessment tasks were indeed developed. Furthermore, these tasks proved to be effective in identifying naive conceptions that had not been previously reported. Different assessment tasks that were used to probe understanding of the same idea elicited responses that were very different from one another.
This study has important bearings in two respects. First, in developing diagnostic assessment tasks that can be integrated into teaching evolution and can serve both teachers and researchers who study evolution. The second aspect relates to the field-testing of a novel protocol for developing assessment tasks and examining the process and its products.