Transforming Science Education with Simulation-Based Formative Assessment

Two female middle school students on computers

Scientific concepts are complex, and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are placing new assessment demands on teachers. NGSS calls on students to “not just know about science but also be able to do science,” says WestEd Senior Research Associate Matt Silberglitt. To help educators meet these demands, WestEd recently was awarded a three-year federal grant to expand a suite of interactive, computer-based formative assessment tools for middle school and high school on topics in life science, physical science, earth science, and chemistry.

The tools are designed to be used in the classroom to enable assessment for learning, rather than just summative assessment. They are built on research-based principles and use computerized representations and multimedia formats that visually guide students, as well as interactive features that engage students.

Earlier research has indicated the potential of these kinds of simulation-based formative assessment tools to improve student learning, leading Jodi Davenport,  Deputy Director for the Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics program at WestEd, to say that “using simulations may fundamentally transform science education.”

To learn more, read the R&D Alert Online article “Toward a Transformation of Science Education: Simulation-Based Formative Assessment.”

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