Do the test questions you use adequately reflect your students’ true understanding of science? We’ll share guidelines for writing effective questions that don’t leave any of your students out and will help you determine whether your students are making sense of phenomena they are investigating - do their ideas match science ideas of the NGSS?
Using a research-based “citizen science” approach, teachers can volunteer their favorite items and help improve our existing MOSART questions. Crucial item characteristics will be measured and reported, such as difficulty, effectiveness, gender, and racial/ethnic bias. Write new questions or revise ones you already have to address how well students make sense of elements outlined in the NGSS DCIs.
The following is a question that is too difficult for middle school students:
Matter is made of tiny bits called atoms. What is between the helium atoms in a balloon?
a)Tiny particles that bind atoms together. b)A chemical substance that attaches helium atoms together. c)Nothing; the helium atoms touch each other on all sides. d)Nothing, just empty space. e)Air.
How would you revise this item? We’ll have “practice” opportunities to look at assessment questions that are difficult or biased and discuss possible revisions with other educators.
Write assessment questions to address item characteristics of difficulty, effectiveness, gender, and racial/ethnic bias
Cynthia Crockett (Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian: Cambridge, MA), Philip Sadler (Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian: Cambridge, MA)