Best Practice in Science Assessment


The world has encountered generations of great scientists whodedicated their lives for the advancement in science. Greatscientific minds have pioneered lots of discoveries in the field,which have significantly impacted human life in the planet. Onecommon thing about the present and past scientists is that they allgot great teachers who guided their studies to greatness (Ortiz,et al, 2015). In a nut shell, success in sciencesubstantially relies in proper teaching, as well as proper assessmenton the subject. Irrespective of the level of teaching, science shouldbe approached with the best precision that the world can possiblyprovide. Accordingly, teaching alone is not enough as there is aconstant need for assessing to determine the level of understandingthat students have managed after every topic (Ortiz,et al, 2015). It would be pointless to proceed throughthe entire book, without testing whether the students have understooda god deal of the ideas contained in a topic. For that reasoncontinuous assessment of science student comes in handy to determinewhether students understood a topic to the required threshold. On thesame note, remedial lessons are also vital in helping weaker studentscatch up on the things that they failed to grasp during the regularclass period. Having laid the bench marks, the brief overview willexplore the best practice in science assessment namely continuousassessment and remedial lessons for slow leaning students.

Continuous Assessment

Continuous assessment describes a policy in the academic sphere wherelearners are given continuous tests and assessments in the largerpart of their duration in a learning institution. Notably, theoutcomes of continuous assessment are taken into account indetermining the grade of a student (Buxton&amp Provenzo, 2012). This form of assessment is vitalbecause it helps learning institutions and teachers breed studentswho competent in every manner. The best thing about continuousassessment is that it captures marks from all areas of academicinterest, be it term papers, homework, essays or research papers.More importantly, science teachers can easily determine whether theirstudents understood a topic to the expected threshold beforeproceeding to the next topic. As it turns out, topics in sciences arerelated in one way or the other thus comprehending the concepts andideas in one topic is crucial before proceeding to the next.

In this case, I wish to draw from an example that I experiencedduring my fourth year practicum the previous term, something thatturned out to be one of the best practices science assessment. Theinstructor had students take continuous assessment tests twice everyweek. The tests were test were brief and involved the areas that hadbeen covered within a couple of days. The teacher had the intentionsof determining whether the students mastered the methods and skillsdiscussed in the previous lessons (Buxton&amp Provenzo, 2012). The tests were done in theregular class time, especially during the double lessons. Studentswere given maximum supervision to avoid cheating as everyone wasexpected to handle the tasks individually. The tests contained fourto five major questions, which required vivid explanations of everystep involved in the science process. Being a chemistry class.

Precision to details and accuracy was expected from every student inanswering the questions in the tests (Gravells,2012). For instance, can a student describe thepreparation of solutions, which will be later used in testing formetal ions? Further, can students systematically describe otherprocesses as the Solvay process with accurate indication of all thechemical reactions involved? Are there steps that proved hard to moststudents? The tests were then marked and returned during the lessonthat followed. The teacher pointed out the common mistakes that weremade by the majority and explained vividly on how to avoid suchmistakes in future (Treagust&amp Tsui, 2013). Further, the tests were revised inclass with students who scored the highest in a particular questionbeing given a chance to go through the question and answer in frontof the entire class as the rest listened and made corrections ontheir test papers. Any task that proved problematic to the majoritywere handled by the teacher (Gravells,2012).

The benefits this assessment that I saw was that students managed tothoroughly comb any topic of interest to their learning of science.No student was left behind as the teacher managed to identify areasof difficulties in the learning of every topic and repeated theentire processes (Treagust&amp Tsui, 2013). Further, students managed to learnfrom their peers who had done very well in certain question. Thestrategy helped students in building their confidence and knowledgeas they presented their answers to the rest of the class. In a way,such students stand a high chance of becoming teachers or greatorators.

The benefits of continuous assessment and revisiting areas ofhardships are well known, and they should be supported at all times(Buxton &ampProvenzo, 2012). The end product of the practice inscience is breeding of students who are all rounded in most of theiracademic aspirations. More importantly, students managed tounderstand the significance of mastering all ideas for the best oftheir careers. For students who had gotten a question wrong, it was achance to learn where they went wrong and for those who had gotten itright it was a chance to confirm that they were good. All in all, theteacher had something to add in every situation thus showing theentire class that there was nothing wrong with learning from theirmistakes or from others (Treagust&amp Tsui, 2013).

Remedial Lessons

Remedial lessons are coaching services that are given to slowlearning students by an instructor during extra hours of learning.The lessons are provided by a willing instructor to their studentswho prove to experience difficulties in grasping scientific phenomenain a subject. The arrangements are made between the teacher and thestudents who should avail themselves and demonstrate a real interestin learning (Ortiz,et al, 2015). Although the remedial lessons areconducted during non-class hours, students are expected to portrayexceptional discipline and cooperation. During the remedial lessons,the teacher manages to isolate the slow learning students and givethem personal attention, which is not possible in a normal classsetting (Gravells,2012).

As an example, I wish to draw from an experience that I had from thesame practicum the previous term in the same situations. The teacheridentified a group of twenty students who proved, through theirconsistent low scores, that they were slow learners. The teacherrecommended that the students make arrangements for remedial lessonsearly in the morning, late in the evening and during weekends.

One significant benefit that I identified with this practice inscience was that the tutor made attempts to respond to weakerstudents, giving them a chance to catch up with their bright peers.As a good teacher, the instructor did not give up on his weakstudents or abandon them, but made efforts to ensure that they madethe best of the lessons provided in the subject. Accordingly, theteacher was able to dedicate individual attention to each student andidentify the source of difficulty, which was solved through the mostappropriate intervention specific to the conditions of the studentscapacities (Buxton&amp Provenzo, 2012). Similarly, students got a chanceof freely expressing their problematic areas without the fear ofbeing judged by other students or being laughed at. As it turned out,students fail to ask questions or express their position onunderstanding a concept for the fear that their peers will laugh atthem (Gravells,2012). Admirably, the practice helped improve theacademic performance of the weak students and the general performanceof the entire class benefited from the same. The overall performanceof the class was elevated with not student scoring less than half thetotal marks.

In conclusion, the best practices in science assessment arescrutinize with regard to the level of benefit that they bring toscience students. Continuous assessment helps students identify theirweak points, as well as benefit from their peers who understood thetopics in a better way. The practice equally helps tutors identifyareas of difficulties with their students and tailor the bestintervention, accordingly. Remedial lessons were also found to bevital in revisiting the hard topics and concepts with weak students.Through the practice, all students are brought to speed with regardto the learning tasks, and they can effectively compete with thebright peers in learning tasks. The two practices are vital inscience assessment and they should be embraced by learninginstitutions interested in producing all-round students.


Buxton, C.A., &amp Provenzo, E. F. (2012).&nbspPlace-basedscience teaching and learning: 40 activities for K-8 classrooms.Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

Gravells, A.(2012).&nbspPreparingto teach in the lifelong learning sector: The new award.London: SAGE/Learning Matters.

Ortiz,Enrique, Spalding, Lee-anne, &amp Andreasen, Janet B.(2015).&nbspCliffsnotesFtce Elementary Education, K-6.Cliff Notes.

Treagust, D.F., &amp Tsui, C.-Y. (2013).&nbspMultiplerepresentations in biological education.Dordrecht: Springer.