Swedish national tests in science: assessment of students in a 21st century world
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Sweden has since 2009 had national tests for school year nine in the science (i.e. biology, physics and chemistry). These tests aim to assess the three competencies described in the curricula namely, review information, communicate and take a stand in questions related to the subject, conduct systematic investigations and use concepts theories and models to explain connections. Beginning from the end, the third competence is assessed trough a constructed response test, a test that can be seen as rather traditional science test. The second competence is assessed through a practical investigation that the students plan, conduct and evaluate. The first competence is assessed by a more complex item where the students are served some information which they are supposed to review and use in their argumentation when they take a stand. These tests include a lot of the competences aimed at when discussing assessment for the 21st century world; creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and decision-making.
The assessment of laboratory work has been an obligatory part of the national tests from the beginning in 2009. Despite all problems with the practical handling in the school there has been an important part of the aim that the national tests should be exemplary. If the tests do not include a practical test why should the schools work with laboratory work in class? There was also statistics indicating that many of the schools did not work practical at all.
When the new curriculum was introduced 2011 the competence to communicate was highlighted. Beside the more general definitions of communication several of the syllabi included a subject specific communication component. In the first version of the tests developed in relation to the new curriculum there has been a part assessing the students’ ability to communicate. In these items the students are supposed to scrutinize and analyse given information, communicate and make a decision. The items are connected to questions concerning energy, environment, resource use and health. One of the challenges is to really assess science communication and not communication in general.
In this presentation we will discuss the rationales for this test model and show how the assessment looks like.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nationella prov, årskurs 9, biologi, kemi, fysik
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-103589OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-103589DiVA: diva2:813337
AEA Europe, 6-8th November 2014, Tallinn.