The Content and Process of the Workshop

  1. Focus of the workshop/relevance to ASTE membership

Despite an expanding interest in educational assessment and evaluation, teachers have not been given the skills and tools they need to carry out assessment and evaluation in a way that is useful for practical everyday decision making. The current initiative to apply the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) provides both opportunity and challenge to develop the methods needed to give teachers sound information on which to base the ongoing improvement of curriculum and instruction. The workshop will introduce participants to the fundamental concepts and skills that teachers will need to design and carry out assessment and evaluation activities related to the Next Generation Science Standards.

  1. Outline of the workshop and instructional strategies

Part I, Cubes & Liquids (25 min): Demonstration of an experiential classroom activity called Cubes & Liquids (; Participants will experience Cubes & Liquids as it is  administered to students in secondary school science classes. This activity exemplifies  how to assess six core capabilities that are critical to success in the STEM disciplines, and its implications for assessment and evaluation related to  the Next Generation Science Standards.

Part II,  What are Educational Assessment and Evaluation? (40 min): A review of the demonstration will show participants how to decompose educational events to reveal the essential elements of educational processes, in particular the nature and purpose of assessment and evaluation. Participants will then be given concrete examples of concepts and techniques essential to building and carrying out assessment and evaluation activities with a particular focus on how in formation on student attainment over time can support program evaluation and improvement.

Part III, From Standards to Valued Outcomes (30 min): The presenter will take an example of an NGSS standard identified by a workshop participant and lead the group in developing practical learning goals, and then ways to elicit evidence of student attainment of those learning goals.

Part IV, Conclusion and Summation (25 min): Q&A. How can these professional capabilities be developed further? Workshop evaluation

  1. Learning Objectives  

a) The workshop is built around 12 teacher education learning objectives fundamental to the understanding and practice of educational assessment and evaluation. [Link to ]

b) The capabilities underlying these objectives are what teachers and educational specialists need to systematically address the question of “What was learned?” in a way that makes effective use of the resulting information in educational practice.

c) Judging the Effectiveness of the Workshop

The workshop session will conclude with an assessment of participants relationship to the 12 learning objectives after the 2 hour workshop.

  1. Follow up

A  follow up forum on NGSS assessment and evaluation for this workshop  has been set up at the Forum for Educational Arts and Sciences for participants at . Workshop participants will be invited to visit that site, under the supervision of the presenter, to pose questions and share reports of their efforts to realize the content of the workshop.

  1. Appeal to ASTE Membership

The workshop can be of interest to the full range of ASTE membership (methods instructors, educational researchers, curriculum developers, etc.). The building of practical, valid and reliable assessments that support actual instruction related to NGSS standards is currently the most critical challenge facing these standards. If practical assessments can be developed that teachers actually use to monitor the attainments of their students’ progress on NGSS based objectives, a key component for success will have been put in place. Heretofore educational research and evaluation has relied on high-stakes, norm-referenced tests which do not provide the information needed for informing instruction and program improvement. Consequently,  in addition to teachers, many educational specialists, lack the foundations needed to build practical and useful assessments. Assessment is in essence the application of scientific investigation to answer the questions “What has been learned and how well?” Science teachers and those who have responsibility for the preparation of science teachers have a special contribution to make to developing a scientific approach to this question. The workshop aims at introducing those responsible for teacher preparation and professional development to the fundamentals underlying practical assessment and evaluation.

  1. Presenter’s Expertise/Experience in the Topic Area

The presenter, Paul Zachos, PhD, currently directs the Association for the Cooperative Advancement of Science and Education (ACASE), an independent association of scientists and teachers. He is a 30+ year veteran in the field of educational assessment and evaluation. He has provided services in these disciplines to individual teachers, schools, school districts, state and federal  agencies and private industry.  Paul delivered an online course for science teachers at the University at Albany, organized around an earlier version of these same learning objectives, for the Astrobiology Teachers Academy, a NASA NAI funded project of the New York Center for Astrobiology.

  1. Pertinent Reference List

Brown, Peter C., Roediger III, Henry L., & McDaniel, Mark A. (2014). Make it Stick.  The Science of Successful Learning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Doane, William E. J., Rice, Rebekah R., & Zachos, Paul. (2006). Knowing When You Don’t Know: Supporting teaching and learning using a new generation of tests. The Science Teacher, 73 (4).

Inhelder, Bärbel, & Piaget, Jean. (1958). The Growth of Logical Thinking.  From Childhood to Adolescence. (A. Parsons & S. Milgram, Trans.). New York: Basic Books, Inc.

Johnson, Mauritz. (1977). Intentionality in Education. Albany, NY: Center for Curriculum Research and Services, State University of New York at Albany.

Lampert, Magdalene. (2001). Teaching Problems and the Problems of Teaching. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Zachos, Paul, Hick, Thomas L., Doane, William E. J., & Sargent, Cynthia. (2000). Setting Theoretical and Empirical Foundations for Assessing Scientific Inquiry and Discovery in Educational Programs. The Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37(9), 938-962.

Zachos, Paul & Doane, William E.J. (2017) Knowing the Learner: A new approach to educational information. Shires Press, Manchester Vermont.

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