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Evaluating and comparing Singaporean and Taiwanese eighth graders’ conceptions of science assessment
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Lin, T. –J., Tan, A. –L., Lee, M. –H., Tsai, C. –C. (2017). Evaluating and comparing Singaporean and Taiwanese eighth graders’ conceptions of science assessment. Research in Science & Technological Education, 35(4), 391-408.
Researchers have indicated that assessment practices and methods ought to be tailored to support learners’ construction of meaningful understanding of knowledge. To achieve this aim, understanding students’ conceptions of science assessment would be essential since it will enable us to construct more realistic, valid and fair assessments. Understanding how learners conceptualize assessment would be imperative to serve as an essential reference to properly evaluate their learning progress. The main purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare the Singaporean and Taiwanese middle school students’ conceptions of science assessment. Within each country, gender comparisons were also explored. A total of 333 Singaporean and 424 Taiwanese grade eight students were invited to complete a questionnaire named Conceptions of Science Assessment (COSA) to capture their views on science assessment. The results indicated that, first, the COSA questionnaire was valid and reliable for measuring the Singaporean and Taiwanese eighth graders’ conceptions of science assessment, including Surface, Summative, and Formative conceptions. Second, the findings showed that the summative purpose of assessment still dominates in the Taiwanese science classroom, while both formative and summative purposes of assessment are usually perceived in Singaporean science classrooms. In contrast, the Singaporean students had a greater tendency than their Taiwanese counterparts to perceive the surface purpose of assessment as merely a way of reproducing scientific knowledge, and the formative purpose of assessment as improving learning, problem solving and critical judgment. No gender differences were found among either the Singaporean or the Taiwanese students regarding their three science assessment conceptions. The findings suggest that science educators in both countries should provide learners with more opportunities to experience process-oriented science assessment activities and de-emphasize the usage of examination-oriented practices to achieve the sophistication of conceptions.
This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in Research in Science & Technological Education. The published version is available online at
0263-5143 (print)
1470-1138 (online)
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Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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