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Good Assessment Practice in Science

This report from Ofsted describes how assessment in science is most effective where it is used as a teaching tool as well as a means of judging attainment. Similarly the assessment of practical coursework is not just a means of assigning students to levels but of giving them the information they need to improve their laboratory skills.

The report describes:

*Day-to-day assessment where students are given time to think about answers, rather than any delay in answering being followed by an easier question; all sensible contributions are accepted; wrong or partial answers are used to pick up misconceptions rather than being simply classed as right or wrong; teachers provide students with individual feedback later in the lesson, for example when circulating during practical work.

*Marking in science is most effective when the tasks set enable teachers to gain insights into students’ understanding of the science involved and respond according; it is used to identify specific strengths or misconceptions.

*Best use is made of the time spent on written assessment when: related topics are taught and assessed in close sequence so that students are able to make connections and the time required for assessment is reduced; a range of assessment tasks are used requiring students to apply scientific principles as well as demonstrating their knowledge of content.

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