Assessment and Science Education
The elephant in the room - standardized test and science education

A WebQuest for Pre-Service Science Teachers

Designed by

Brian Murfin

Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits 


Assessment and Science Education Web Quest

In this activity you will work in small groups to explore assessment in science education.  By the end of this activity, you should have some answers to the following question:

  • How can I help my students succeed on standardized science tests, and at the same time make sure that they are scientifically literate, develop their science skills and knowledge to their full potential, and have positive attitudes towards science?

Good luck!  


The Task

As a small group, answer the following questions:

  1. Imagine that you just started teaching a Regents science subject.  You are almost finished teaching a topic and now you have to design a test for your students.  Describe how you would go about constructing your test. 
  2. Construct a few sample questions of the following types on your topic:  multiple choice and constructed response questions.  You should include diagrams, charts, or graphs with the constructed response questions. 
  3. After your students take your exam, describe how you would analyze the results of your test. 
  4. How would you ensure that your test is valid, reliable, and unbiased?

The Process

  1. Use your web browser to connect to ScienceMOO .  You should have received your username and password in an email to your gmail address.  If you can't login with your account, you can login as a guest.  Guests do not need a password.
  2. Form a group of two to four people who all teach the same science subject. 
  3. Your group should pick a table in ScienceMOO and sit together.  The tables are named table1, table2, table3, table4, table5, table6, table7, table8, table9, table10.
  4. To sit at a table in ScienceMOO, make sure the button next to normal is selected, then type sit table1 or sit table2
  5. While you are at a table, you will only see what is being typed by the people at your table.  If you want to speak to the whole class you can either stand, or use the speakup command.  
  6. Discuss the questions as a group and then post your group's answers on the discussion board in BlackBoard.
  7. I will be moving around from table to table to answer questions.  You can divide up the tasks or work on them together.  Use the resources below and on our course outline under Week 10 to help you accomplish the tasks. 


Listed below are some web sites that may help you accomplish your tasks.  You can also consult our course outline for more information.


Now that you have finished the tasks and are more familiar with the Regents exams, think about how you might help the following students prepare for the Regents exams:

  • This student has low reading ability and isn't really interested in science.
  • This student is highly motivated and wants to learn science but English is her second language. 
  • This student is a visual learner and is very good at labs.
  • This students loves the arts and music but isn't much interested in science.  
  • This student is a sports fanatic and plays on the school basketball team but really doesn't see the need to do well in science.  
Please post your ideas on the discussion board in BlackBoard.  


Once you have finished posting your webquest on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard and also in our Google group, take a look at the other's groups responses. 

You may want to continue and develop a complete unit test now that you can include with your unit plan.  This is also a chance for you to develop quizzes and tests on topics you might be teaching next semester during student teaching.  You should start thinking about the tools you will use to create assessments and how you will keep them organized. 

Credits & References

Elephant image courtesy of Classroom Clipart

Last updated on August 15, 1999. Based on a template from The WebQuest Page