The Design of a Qualitative Assessment Task Science Learning Programe

This presentation was shared by Mr Chia Kok Pin from Maris Stella High School (Secondary). He shared with all on qualitative approach to online Science assessment over the quantitative online Science assessment.

I like the sharing especially on the various modes of assessment possible in Science lessons, their advantages and the suggested assessment strategies that teachers can employ. Understanding of Science can be checked amongst students through online discussions and this enables teachers to discover any possible misconceptions students may develop through the course of learning a particular Science topic. Mr Chia KP shared with us on how online tasks can be set for individual or groups to review and explore.

Another assessment mode shared is on collaborative assignment that can be set for students in Science lessons. This made use of case study that challenged students with authentic tasks that requires them to use online resources to work collaboratively to share resources and findings and hence from there make informed decisions to solve the given tasks.

Very often, email is used for communication. In Science, email can also be used for receiving and tracking essays, assignments and reports. Assessed work can be returned with annotations and grades.

Mr Chia KP also shared on the criteria in designing and development of a qualitative assessment task (Kendle and Northcote, 2000). The guidelines include:
(1) Open-ended tasks should be set. They should include controversial issues for eliciting inquiry among students.
(2) Outcome and purpose of task should be clearly communicated to students.
(3) Task should be authentic and modeled on real life application.
(4) Emphasis on process over product.
(5) Task should include collaboration and communication skills and form a component of the final assessment mark.
(6) A varying degree of choice in online task should be provided.
(7) Task should be limited to unit or course objective.
(8) Use of feedback mechanism should also be included in the task design.
(9) Encourage appropriate and discriminatory use of online resources.
(10) Examine and present a variety of solutionsif applicable and opposing viewpoints.

In the presentation, an example of a Science topic on Pendulum is demonstrated. Video clips of pendulum swinging at varying lengths of strings were shown and students were required to take measurement of the time for each period. Students were given 3 questions that required them to discuss their answers online and the Science teacher will check on a regular basis students' input and the teacher will provide feedback on students' input.

Suggested area for improvement: Proposed to the presenter to use challenge-based approach to encourage students to formulate authentic problems based on a given topic and they can further research on their task to stimulate creativity and innovative learning in the process.

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