Friday, 24 May 2013

Assessing science units

Here is a link to the complete primary science vocabulary list:

The science vocabulary lists can be used as an essential part of ongoing teacher assessment of science study units.

Below is how these could be used to support teacher ongoing assessment using the KWHAQ steps during each stage below:
Stage 1: Initial assessment 
K: What do I know about this topic?
W: What do I want to know about this topic?
Stage 2: Main study – enquiry and investigations
A: What actions or steps will I take to find these out?
Stage 3: review and final assessment
L: What have I learnt from doing this topic?
Q: What new questions do I now have?
For stage 1 initial assessment:
1.    Log onto the above website and select your relevant year group from the menu tabs at the top of the screen
2.   Find your current study unit on this page

Guidance on using the listed vocabulary to assess learner’s knowledge of the topic
Tell the class what topic they will be working on and that to help you plan appropriate learning activities for them; you need to find out what they already know about the topic.

For Younger children:
Read the words with groups, pairs or individual pupils; ask them: ‘Show me something that is this word or mean this word.’ 'What is this word?'
For older year groups:
Give pairs or individual students copies of the vocabulary list. Ask them to sort these into three categories of:
1.    I know this word
2.   I do not know this word
3.   I think that I know this word but I am not sure

Next ask them to add their current definitions of their known words to the category of words.
Collate the results onto a whole class copy or sugar paper. Retain this for comparison with stage 3 results below.
This activity should reveal the whole class and individual’s competencies in the topic.
Stage 2:
From stage 1 result and using the learning objectives on the home page of the web site, find your year group (you may need to scroll down one or two pages to older posts), select the relevant unit and use the objectives to plan the main teaching and learning activities.

Stage 3: final assessment
Do the stage 1 activity again, this time comparing the shift of numbers of words from each category for each individual or groups of children and the whole class overview.
Also compare learner’s initial definition of their known words to their current definition. How have these changed?
These activities are guaranteed to reveal each learners competency in the study unit and areas for further work.
True or false activity
Another way to use the science words at stage 3 is to give learners different scenarios which relate to the unit vocabulary and ask them to say whether these are true or false or depends and to give their reasons for their choice using the correct science vocabulary to support.
Ability to explain science vocabulary in context is an effective way to assess learner’s understanding of key concepts.

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