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Title: Using computer-based modelling for primary science learning and assessment
Authors: Zhang, Baohui
Wong, Lung Hsiang
Chew, Lee Chin
Jacobson, Michael J.
Looi, Chee-Kit
Issue Date: May-2006
Citation: Paper presented at the 32nd Annual Conference of the International Association of Educational Assessment (IAEA) on “Assessment in an Era of Rapid Change: Innovations and Best Practices”, Singapore, 21 – 26 May 2006
Abstract: Computer-based modeling is not just a means for students to learn important scientific knowledge and skills, but also a technique to assess student understandings of science. A software tool called Model-It allows young students to create their own models so that their learning becomes more interactive and engaged. However, there is a mismatch between how students learn and how they are assessed if conventional paper-administered tests are used. This paper argues for alternative assessments to be better aligned with curriculum and instruction. Forty 4th grade students in a local Singapore school participated in a science inquiry activity that involved learning with modeling as an alternative assessment. The students individually created models of food webs to illustrate their understanding of energy flows and photosynthesis. A scoring rubric based on four criteria (“focus and structure”, "accuracy", "completeness" and "functionality") was used to evaluate the models, with the modeling scores being compared to student scores of the school’s paper-based assessments of science learning. In addition, 18 students were interviewed about their understanding of models and modeling. The data is currently being analyzed and the findings of this study and potential implications for educational assessments will be presented in this paper.
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