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2022 Chicago National Conference - Sessions




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Friday, July 22
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
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CONSTRUCT: a Crowd-sourced Online Tool for Developing Middle-school Physical Science Assessments using Disciplinary Core Ideas

McCormick Place - W184d

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.

Takeaways: 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)

Saturday, July 23
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
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"Say That Again???..." Know Your Students' - and Your Own - Misconceptions in Science

McCormick Place - W175c

“Kids say the darndest things” don’t they - or do they? Either way, it’s really what they believe, whether it’s correct or incorrect. Do you know what ideas your students bring to the classroom and use to shape their ideas about science? How do we accurately assess their ideas against the disciplinary core ideas of the NGSS? We wonder where those ideas come from and why they own them. Our students make sense of science from many places and venues and then use that as a foundation for their learning. However, it may not always be a solid foundation. We can help students develop their science knowledge using phenomena, observation, and robust assessment as well as a through a deeper understanding of the misconceptions they hold. Know the extent of what your students are thinking and why they think it using research-based assessments and the importance of including their ideas in those assessments. Explore students’ ideas and misconceptions (as well as your own!) in the Physical Sciences at various grade levels and know some of what they bring with them before they walk in the door!

Takeaways: Educators will learn research-based misconceptions that students hold across grade bands in the physical sciences in order to incorporate those into assessment.


Cynthia Crockett (Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian: Cambridge, MA)