Performance-based assessment of scientific reasoning in children
Leuven : European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI)
In17th Biennial Conference EARLI: Book of Abstracts and Extend Summaries, pp. 297-298
17th Biennal EARLI Conference for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI 2017) (Tampere, Finland, August 29th - September 2nd, 2017)
Article in monograph or in proceedings
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SW OZ BSI OLO
17th Biennial Conference EARLI: Book of Abstracts and Extend Summaries
SubjectLearning and Plasticity
Recent longitudinal and cross-sectional studies have examined how scientific reasoning skills such as experimenting, making inferences and evaluating evidence develop in young science learners. Results, although informative, likely underestimate children’s true capabilities because data in these studies was collected by written tests. To circumvent this possible threat to predictive validity, a three-year project was launched to monitor children's performance on practical inquiry tasks through time. Using a longitudinal design, 170 elementary schoolchildren aged 7-10 participate in three annual waves of data collection. Specifically, they undertake an investigation with physical materials under guidance of a test administrator, who captures their scientific reasoning processes by observing and eliciting explanations. Results of the first year demonstrate good psychometric qualities of this new performance-based assessment instrument, and a consistent linear increase in scientific reasoning proficiency across age categories that was largely independent of children's language and math abilities. Analyses at the level of individual skills revealed that scientific reasoning develops asynchronously in children. The skills of experimenting and inferencing were already performed quite well, 'predicting' was more difficult, and 297 'evaluating data' and 'drawing conclusions' were the least well-developed skills. The second wave of data collection takes place in February and March 2017; results will be analyzed within-subject to find out to what extent children have improved in scientific reasoning and whether the five scientific reasoning skills develop at the same pace in same-aged children.
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