This book explains the purpose and nature of written assessment in science, illustrated through a description of material developed and used in the STAR project. In considering the design of the written material for assessing children's achievement levels in science process skills, it was important that the context be as close as possible to normal primary class activities.
A class project was devised around the investigation of materials and objects to be found in an imaginary Walled Garden. The authors describe the use in the classroom of the Walled Garden materials, and presented examples of children's responses, together with a discussion of the interpretation and categorisation of such responses.
The authors present the results of their work in terms of what children can do. They consider the diagnostic use of such assessments, as well as the limitations and problems associated with written assessment. Results are interpreted and related to the National Curriculum criteria for exploration of science. This information is applied to the design of further classroom learning opportunities and the authors give guidelines to help teachers develop their own process-based questions for current topics. Categories are presented, based on science attainment target 1, for use in marking and interpreting children's responses.
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