who participate in Journey North are engaged in real-life investigations.
They observe, gather, and analyze authentic data; grapple with
problem-solving challenges; “eavesdrop” on scientists
engaged in inquiry; and discuss ideas and theories. These experiences
offer rich opportunities for both you and students to explore
how their thinking and reasoning, grasp of concepts, and abilities
develop and become more sophisticated over time.
in Continuous Assessment
This type of continuous or embedded assessment reflects an important
shift from assessment that is something you do at the end
to something that happens throughout the learning process.
(The National Science Education Standards and other subject area
standards call for this approach.) This ongoing assessment while
students are engaged is a powerful teaching and learning tool
that does the following:
Helps you decide where you need to go next with teaching.
Helps you and students reflect on and document their progress
Develops self-directed learners.
Gives you a means to communicate student progress to parents
truly understand what students have learned and can do, you need
to use a wide range of assessment strategies. Click
here for links to specific strategies and tools. Many are
best suited to assessing certain types of gains. For instance,
having students design a tulip investigation helps you assess
their abilities to think and act like scientists. But an informal
interview about why animals migrate helps you home in on their
understanding of certain concepts.
Most disciplines have had a significant shift in thinking about
assessment. It calls for less emphasis on facts and right and
wrong answers and more on students’ explanations and evidence
of reasoning. Here is an excerpt of what the National
Science Education Standards says about this shifting emphasis.
what is easily measured.
what is most highly valued.
discrete (isolated) knowledge.
rich, well-structured knowledge.
scientific understanding and reasoning.
to learn what students do not know.
to learn what students do understand.
of term assessments by teachers.
engaged in ongoing assessment of their work and that of others.
Students (Self- and Peer-Assessments)
When students are involved in the assessment process, know what’s
expected, and help set learning goals and criteria for success,
they are motivated to take responsibility for their own learning.They
are better able to focus on learning goals/targets and improve
products and performances; they also develop an awareness of their
own strengths and gaps in understanding. In doing this, they come
to see themselves as competent learners.
are some ways in which students can assess their own progress
toward learning goals:
a sample of their own work or evaluate their understanding,
abilities, behaviors, and/or thinking skills using agreed on
standards and criteria for quality. This might include using
a scoring tool like a checklist or rubric.
Select a piece of their own work they think shows their understanding
of a scientific concept or their ability to conduct scientific
inquiry. Explain orally or in writing how it does so.
can also critique the work of other students in constructive ways.
This works particularly well when they evaluate others’
cooperative skills, presentations, and investigation plans and
reports. Serving as critical audiences for colleagues, is, after
all, an important part of what scientists do. See sample questions
in Critically Reviewing
and rubrics make good self- and peer-assessment tools. Open-ended
questions work well for self-assessment, but less well with peers.
In any case, you should model the self-assessment process before
expecting students to apply it themselves.