Assessment in secondary science
Assessment in secondary science

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Assessment in secondary science

Assessment in secondary science


This free course, Assessment in secondary science, will identify and explore some of the key issues around assessment in secondary school science. Engaging with these issues and debates will help you to reflect upon and develop your practice as a science teacher. You will also develop a greater awareness of the role of assessment in science education.

In Section 1 you will consider what is assessed in science. Section 2 examines how assessment can support learning. This is developed in Sections 3 and 4, which focus on assessing students’ conceptual understanding and involving students in assessment.

This course you help you to examine some of the many issues that surround assessment. You will explore the connection between assessment, teaching and students’ learning, as well as how to involve students in assessment. You will be asked to draw on your own experiences of, and ideas about, assessment; how the concept of assessment has changed in recent times; and the principles underpinning assessment that support learning and what teachers assess in science.

Now listen to an introduction to this course by its author, Sandra Amos:

Download this audio clip.Audio player: nc3002_2016_pgce_oer_aug004.mp3
Skip transcript


Sandra Amos
Hello. I'm Sandra Amos the author of this course. I've worked for many years in science education both as a teacher in secondary schools and as a teacher/educator in university.
Assessment is a challenging aspect of a science teacher’s work. Science is not simply a fixed collection of facts but a complex discipline. Consequently assessment in secondary science should not be concerned only with what facts students can recall. Rather attention needs to be paid to the different elements of science including students' conceptual understanding of key ideas, their technical competence, investigative skills and understanding of the nature and processes of science.
There also has to be some notion of what it means to make progress in these elements which must be agreed and shared to provide a framework for assessment. As a teacher, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of what progress means and how best to help students move forward.
Through studying this course you will draw on your own experiences of and ideas about assessment in order to consider its impact on students and their learning. You will consider what is assessed in science and the principles underpinning how assessment can support students’ learning. You will also be introduced to different techniques that can be used to assess students’ conceptual understanding rather than simply what they can recall.
In the final session you are asked to consider the value and importance of involving students in assessment and ways in which this can be achieved.
I hope that you enjoy this course and find it useful in developing your assessment practise in the future.
End transcript
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

As you work through the activities you will be encouraged to record your thoughts on an idea, an issue or a reading, and how it relates to your practice. Hopefully you will have opportunities to discuss your ideas with colleagues. We therefore suggest that you use a notebook – either physical or electronic – to record your thoughts in a way in which they can easily be retrieved and revisited. If you prefer, however, you can record your ideas in response boxes within the course – in order to do this, and to retrieve your responses, you will need to enrol on the course.

This OpenLearn course is part of a collection of Open University short courses for teachers and student teachers [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371