BACKGROUND

BACKGROUND TO THE ASAP EXEMPLARS PROJECT

The York/Seneca Institute for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (YSIMSTE)
is a partnership of York University and Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology dedicated to the support of education in mathematics, science and technology through initiatives in teaching, curriculum, outreach and applied research and development.

In 1999, the Assessment of Science and Technology Achievement Project (ASAP), a partnership of a number of Ontario district school boards and YSISTE invited teachers to participate in the development of assessment materials to assist teachers in the assessment of the expectations in the new curriculum released in 1998 for Grades 1-8.

The new curriculum is more specific than previous practice with respect to both the knowledge and the skills that students are expected to develop and demonstrate in each grade. Further, the subject areas of science and technology are now combined. Some of the expectations focus on science and the inquiry process skill, some on technology and the design process skill, while others deal with relating science and technology to each other and to the world outside the school.

The CD-ROM resource, Classroom Assessment in Science and Technology: A Resource Handbook for Teachers was produced by ASAP to address these new features of the curriculum from an assessment perspective. In 2000, ASAP invited teachers to participate in the development of exemplars based on these assessment materials. They designed the assessment tasks and scoring rubrics based on selected expectations, field tested them in classrooms, suggested changes, implemented the finalized tasks, marked student work, and selected the exemplars used in this multi-media publication.

The selection of student work samples that appears in this publication reflects the professional judgement of teachers who participated in the project. No students, teachers, or schools have been identified. However ASAP expresses its gratitude to all those students and teachers whose work enabled this resource to be developed.


DEVELOPMENT OF THE TASKS AND RUBRICS
The culminating assessment tasks for the exemplars project were developed by teams of subject specialists in the following ways:

The teams

  • selected a cluster of curriculum expectations that focused on the knowledge and skills that are considered to be of central importance in science and technology for the strand.
  • drafted prototype culminating tasks that would encompass all of the selected expectations and that could be used to assess the work of students.
  • established clear, appropriate and measurable criteria for assessment, and wrote the descriptions for each level of achievement in the task-specific rubric, using the achievement chart as a guide
  • prepared detailed instructions for both teachers and students participating in the ASAP Exemplars Project

The prototype tasks were field-tested in classrooms across the ASAP boards- initially in the winter of 2000 and subsequently in the winter of 2001. Student work was scored by teams of teachers. In addition, classroom teachers, students, and board contacts provided feedback on the tasks themselves and on the instructions that accompanied the tasks. Suggestions for improvement were taken into consideration in the revision of the tasks that were actually used for the final implementation in April 2001.


HOW THE STUDENT WORK SAMPLES WERE SELECTED
After the final implementation of the tasks, student work was scored by selected teachers from the ASAP boards. The chosen student samples that would serve as exemplars for each level of achievement were then forwarded to ASAP for publication.

The task-specific rubrics were the primary tool used to evaluate student work. The samples that appear in this publication were selected in the following way:

  • After some training was provided, teachers evaluated and discussed the student work until they were able to reach a consensus regarding the level to be assigned for achievement in each category. This evaluation was done to ensure that the student work being selected clearly illustrated that level of performance.

The following points should be noted:

  • Two samples of student work are included for each category in each of the four achievement levels. The samples of student written work and at least two samples of videotaped student work are included. The samples are intended to show that the characteristics of an achievement level can be demonstrated in different ways.
  • This publication does not include any student samples that were assessed using the rubrics and judged to be below level 1

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The Assessment of Science and Technology Achievement Project is a project of the York/Seneca Institute for Science, Technology and Education.
© 2002 York University