The issues:

  • Wide variety of competencies to be assessed

    • Problem solving
    • Understanding of concept
    • Experimental techniques/processes, etc.
    • Critical thinking and evaluation
    • Science communication
  • Never able to assess all simultaneously

  • Therefore, more time required for formal assessing (of any competency) less for teaching – crowded curriculum means less time for both

  • This means exams/tests still a big part of school cultures as they’re the ‘easiest’ to produce and mark to give the students a ‘”value” that represents them for reporting purposes

  • University entrance based majority on exam skills/results also puts massive emphasis on exam results

  • Pressure on teachers to justify final assessment – professionalism brought into judgment

  • Difficult to find a wide range of excellent resources quickly and easily

  • Excitement factor lacking in some forms of assessment (e.g. standard tests, lab reporting)

  • Language barriers to students in assessing science communication and understanding of new concepts/science words

  • Mathematical skills lacking – issue for some areas of science (chemistry and physics) with students unable to logically link concepts and a mathematical rule (pertains mainly to upper secondary)

Solutions:

  • Access to a massive range of assessment suggestions and examples supplied by a variety of people

    • Since government dictates what to teach and how to report, they should be responsible for giving more guidance
    • Collection of excellent ideas from great teachers
    • Scientific organizations/researchers
    • Should span all year levels and topics, not just randomly selected areas and topics
      problem solving
  • Greater emphasis on continued teacher training extending well into careers

  • Greater professional development access for sharing of excellent ideas (such as SoS) that are innovative and exciting for students

  • Teacher self confidence to trust own professional judgment in assessment

  • Innovative teachers, rather than “experienced” teachers acting as mentors to beginning teachers

  • Extension of mentoring program to 2 years

  • IF NO MENTORING SYSTEM EXISTS

    • 1st year teachers given 0.9 work load (no penalty for pay)
    • This must be a government directive that is built-in
    • Mentor assigned to 1st year teachers who are also given time to visit regularly to discuss teaching, assessment, etc.
    • Mentor to visit classroom to assist and observe to give constructive advice
  • Universities to use different methods to determine entrance – not purely exam/mark based

  • Universities to diversify their assessment techniques also

  • Making sure math is present in early science so students are aware of the pertinence of mathematics in science, BUT not so that there is a heavy mathematics element

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