AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004   ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARYSCIENCE CLASSROOM: STUDENT RESPONSE TO DI...
AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004ACTION RESEARCH   IN THE   SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM             WATERS, E...
AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004WATERS, ET. AL.                    ACTION RESEARCH   IN THE   SECONDARY SCIE...
AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004ACTION RESEARCH   IN THE   SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM               WATERS,...
AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004WATERS, ET. AL.                          ACTION RESEARCH        IN THE   SEC...
AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004ACTION RESEARCH   IN THE   SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM             WATERS, E...
AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004WATERS, ET. AL.                         ACTION RESEARCH   IN THE   SECONDARY...
AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004ACTION RESEARCH   IN THE   SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM                 WATER...
AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004WATERS, ET. AL.                      ACTION RESEARCH   IN THE   SECONDARY SC...
AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004ACTION RESEARCH   IN THE   SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM              WATERS, ...
AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004WATERS, ET. AL.                    ACTION RESEARCH   IN THE   SECONDARY SCIE...
AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004ACTION RESEARCH   IN THE   SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM                      ...
AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004WATERS, ET. AL.                         ACTION RESEARCH   IN THE   SECONDARY...
AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004ACTION RESEARCH   IN THE   SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM                      ...
AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004WATERS, ET. AL.                        ACTION RESEARCH   IN THE   SECONDARY ...
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Action Research in science classroom
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Action Research in science classroom

  1. 1. AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004 ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARYSCIENCE CLASSROOM: STUDENT RESPONSE TO DIFFERENTIATED, ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENTAUTHORS FAITH H. WATERS is Professor in the Professional and Secondary Education Department, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania PATRICIA S. SMEATON is Associate Professor, in the Professional and Secondary Education Department, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. TODD G. BURNS has been a Secondary Science Teacher for 18 years and is currently the Principal of Pocono Mountain East High School, Swiftwater, Pennsylvania.ABSTRACT The purpose of this article is to share classroom action research studying the perception of students to a differentiated, alternative assessment model in a secondary science classroom. Results of the study indicated the majority of the students preferred the differentiated, alternative assessment model to solely traditional assessment. The elements of choice, increased learning, and extended experience were significant factors in student preference.INTRODUCTION For the last decade the education world has been inundated with ideas on ways to individualize and enhance instruction for students. Learning styles, alternative and authentic assessment, multiple intelligences theory, 89
  2. 2. AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM WATERS, ET. AL. differentiated instruction, and inclusionary practices all have the common goal of improving learning for each and every student (Tomlinson, 1999; Darling-Hammond, 1997; Sylwester, 1995; Gardner, 1993). The typical teacher is presented with many options on how to improve the teaching and learning process for students. It is often difficult to discern which new reform will benefit learning, in a particular academic area or class- room. Increasingly teachers are relying on action research to inform their practice. As in traditional research, action research includes on-going "cycles of problem identification, systematic data collection, reflection, analysis, data driven action taken, and finally, problem redefinition" (Johnson 1993, p.1). Although typically it is the researchers and their students who benefit directly, the findings of action research can also serve as a catalyst for change by other educators (Borgia & Schuler, 1996; Johnson, 1993). Action research affords opportunities for practicing teachers to examine current theory as implemented in their daily practices and to make data-driven adjustments in their curriculum and instruction in a meaningful way (McLaughlin, Watts & Beard, 2000). The specific goal of this article is to share how one of the authors, a secondary science teacher, implemented differentiated, alternative assess- ment and conducted action research to examine student reaction to the implementation of the assessment model. The breadth of the content and practices involved makes the earth and space science classroom an ideal laboratory for this action research project. This study is consistent with Flemings (2000) definition of action research as "a systematic inquiry into a school or classroom situation with the intent of inspiring the quality of teaching and learning and gaining a deeper understanding of the complex content in which it occurs" (p.11). This article also addresses a concern with the finding that 40% of science teachers reported that they were unprepared for the development of performance-based assessments (Weiss, 1997). In response to Weiss’ findings and in an effort to determine what changes might make a signifi- cant difference in producing rich understanding in his classes, one of the authors, a high school earth and space science teacher, identified the use of differentiated, alternative assessment as a methodology worthy of implementation and study.OVERVIEW OF STUDY The purpose of this action research study is to examine student reaction to the implementation of the differentiated, alternative assessment model in90
  3. 3. AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004WATERS, ET. AL. ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM one high school earth and space science classroom. As with all action research, the overarching purpose is to inform practice so students benefit. Differentiated, alternative assessment is defined for this project as a hybrid of alternative assessment (Mueller, Waters, Smeaton, & Pinciotti, 2001) and differentiated instruction (Tomlinson, 1999). It combines non-tradi- tional assessments such as projects, presentations, and performances with the elements of choice, variety, and individualization of differentiated instruction.SETTING All students involved with this project were enrolled in a high school earth and space science course, which offers a broad survey of topics but emphasizes astronomy, geology, meteorology, and hydrology. The setting for the study was a high school populated by a diverse mix of 3,250 rural students and recently relocated urban students. While some traditional multiple-choice tests were still used, the teacher implemented differenti- ated, alternative assessment practices in all areas except hydrology and collected feedback from students in a classroom-based, action research format. The teacher planned to implement the differentiated, alternative assessment in the hydrology unit the following school year.PARTICIPANTS Subjects for the initial phase of this action research consisted of 79 ninth- grade Earth and Space Science students from three classes in a block- scheduled rural high school. Participating students were enrolled in the college preparatory class, had the same teacher for the semester, were engaged in similar learning experiences, and had completed identical teacher-led activities. All of the subjects had the same assessment oppor- tunities. The secondary phase of the action research involved all 47 students from two randomly selected classes involved in the primary phase. The teacher-researcher involved in the study was a 17-year teaching veteran enrolled in a graduate studies program while continuing to teach full time. The teacher-researcher began phasing in differentiated, alterna- tive assessments during the fall semester but realized that no data had been gathered regarding the benefits to the students in such a program. Because the teacher valued the opinions of those most directly affected by the assessment model, data on these views were collected utilizing a Likert-style survey created by the teacher. 91
  4. 4. AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM WATERS, ET. AL.DIFFERENTIATED, ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT MODEL Based on the literature regarding performance-based, alternative assess- ment and how students learn (Holloway, 2000; Wiggins & McTighe, 1998), coupled with his own graduate work and teaching experience, the teacher-researcher thought differentiated, alternative assessment practices might provide a vehicle to move toward a more action-oriented evalua- tion process. In order to put his ideas into action he needed to first develop the assessment model. Implementing an assessment framework that accounted for the different learning styles and intelligences of the students required a transformation in practice for both the instructor and students. These changes centered on: • increasing the level of active student participation, • establishing and sharing the expectations for success, • increasing the role of students in decision making, • providing for a variety of student options, • providing for positive interpersonal interactions, and • modifying the role of the teacher from director to facilitator. The initial step in the change process was for the teacher to create and share with the students the rubric (see Figure 1) that the teacher would use to assess the products. Because all students had a copy of this document prior to the beginning of the work, they knew exactly what was required. Students had time to work through questions, ask for clarifica- tions, and probe the requirements, enabling them to self-assess and make modifications prior to submission. Student work was assessed for: • the level of accuracy of information (content, processes, skills, etc.), • making connections to prior learning or everyday life events, • identifying effects and formulating solutions, • devising an original idea pertinent to the topic, and • discussing different viewpoints centered on the main theme. Once students understood the scoring system, they entered into a series of choices that allowed them to exercise control within the assess- ment process. Students chose the type of assessment activity to complete and whether to work alone or in a small group. After these choices were made, the students selected the products to create. Projects produced92
  5. 5. AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004WATERS, ET. AL. ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM Figure 1: Assessment rubric to evaluate projects Criterion Not Needs Meets Mastered Attempted Work Requirements Accuracy No information or Some factual Accurate evidence Extensive and in- references errors, insufficient or information depth information provided. or inaccurate infor- provided with provided with mation provided. proper references proper references. References not in proper format. Viewpoints/ No differing view- Differing view- Differing view- Presented differing Opinions points or opinions points not clearly points or opinions viewpoints and offered or docu- stated or lacks provided with the references with an mented. proper documenta- proper accurate descrip- tion (references). documentation. tion of the differ- ences. Connections No connections to Connections to Connections made Connections to other areas studied prior learning or from the main other topics and/or were identified or other topic areas concept to other areas previously incorporated into attempted but are areas studied and studied were made the project. incomplete on not successfully incor- at high levels of clearly stated. porated into understanding. project. Original No original expla- Original explanation Original explanation Original explanation Explanation nation or idea or idea attempted or idea offered and or idea offered, or Idea provided or but not clearly discussed within discussed, and discussed. stated or incorpo- the project. supported by data rated. or observation. Effects No assessment of Real-world effects Real-world effects Real-world implica- real-world effects presented but not of concept or topic tions are presented, or implications. clearly defined or are assessed in assessed and a assessed. project. plan for action provided included board games and three-dimensional models, computer presenta- tions, web pages, brochures, newspapers, formal or creative writings, live performances, or a combination of these. Throughout the semester students were required to produce assessment pieces in at least three different formats. The usual time frame needed to complete the work consisted of three, 90-minute class periods plus time after school or in the evenings. 93
  6. 6. AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM WATERS, ET. AL. Students periodically reported their progress to peers in a roundtable discussion format that allowed for feedback. This requirement provided a structure that included internal deadlines. In addition, students working in small groups continually engaged in discussion concerning the how, what, and why of the work. Students sometimes disagreed on a course of action, responsibility, or requirement, but the teacher intervened only when necessary to keep the students working. As the process unfolded, the teacher guided, directed, and encouraged individuals and groups. Upon completion of the task, the student or students formally presented the project to the class and submitted all materials to the teacher for evaluation.METHODOLOGY The assessment model that the teacher-researcher designed was used for a one semester, 90-day course during which students completed five differ- entiated, alternative assessment products. At the conclusion of the semester, data concerning student attitudes and beliefs were collected using a forced-response survey and an open-ended questionnaire. The teacher-researcher created a forced response survey consisting of 24 questions which was administered to the students (see Appendix A). This Likert-style survey was based on a five-point scale with five being “Strongly agree” and one being “Strongly disagree.” The null hypothesis for each statement was a mid-spectrum value of three. Two sets of 12 questions were utilized in an attempt to limit response set. Mean score, t- value, and significance level for the two-tailed t-test were determined for answers within each question pair. An open-ended, two-item questionnaire, also created by the teacher- researcher (see Appendix B) was administered to those students selected for phase two. These questions focused on the type of assessment preferred by the students and their respective rationales.FINDINGS Responses for all three-question pairs concerning choice produced signifi- cant results (see Table 1). Students liked or favored the concept of having a choice of assessment vehicles and the opportunity to choose between individual and small group work. They were comfortable with their choices within the assessment process. Results also indicated that students believed they worked hard at completing these assessments and were successful in their completion. Data revealed that students believed they94
  7. 7. AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004WATERS, ET. AL. ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM Table 1. Assessment survey results by question pairs. Statements tested (question pairs) Mean St. dev. t p I like the idea of having choices 4.73 0.51 3.43 0.0007 I choose with whom I work 4.67 0.48 3.48 0.0006 I work hard at these tasks 4.42 0.59 2.42 0.016 I am comfortable with my own choices 4.34 0.61 2.18 0.030 I learn a great deal completing the tasks 4.32 0.65 2.05 0.041 I control my work on the tasks 4.28 0.63 2.03 0.042 I am successful with the tasks 4.12 0.53 2.13 0.034 I gather & combine information 4.15 0.79 1.47 0.142 I am challenged by these tasks 4.04 0.78 1.33 0.195 I enjoy performing these tasks 3.99 0.80 1.24 0.216 I prefer tasks over MC tests 3.94 1.09 0.86 0.390 I am able to assess my own work 3.92 0.70 1.31 0.190 were in control of their work and learned a “great deal” completing the assessment process. Data indicated that not all participants favored the differentiated, alternative assessment process. A large standard deviation for preference of alternative assessments over multiple-choice tests revealed a pattern of clustering at nearly opposite ends of the scale. This result served as the catalyst for the second phase of the study, ascertaining the reasons for students’ assessment preferences. Students responded to one of two types of questions depending upon their assessment preference. Students preferring alternative assessments to multiple-choice tests stated several reasons for this preference, including the chance to work with others, the increased time frame for the assessment process, and opportunities to be creative (See Table 2). Additionally, the subjects indi- cated that this type of assessment was fun, easier, produced less pressure, and led to increased learning. Those subjects preferring multiple-choice assessments also produced a variety of reasons for their responses (see Table 3). Several students 95
  8. 8. AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM WATERS, ET. AL. Table 2. Why do you prefer these assessments to traditional tests? Rationale # of responses I learn more 8 I get to work with partners 6 Easier 5 More time to do it 5 Its fun 4 Opportunities to be creative 4 Less pressure/not nervous 3 Personal control 2 Choice 1 Others 2 Total 40 stated that tests were more straightforward, better organized and more detailed. Others reported that they studied for tests and that these tests make them think. One student favored multiple-choice tests because there were no guidelines involved.OBSERVED BENEFITS TO THE CLASSROOM As the students were working, the teacher observed them and noted specific behaviors. From these observations, three educational benefits worth noting did emerge. During the initial sessions in which students attempted to synthesize their ideas and correlate them to the rubric’s guidelines, student enthusiasm was very high. This was evidenced by the chatter of voices, an array of motions and movements, and even laughter. Table 3. Why do you prefer multiple-choice tests to the alternative assessments? Rationale # of responses Tests are more detailed 2 I study for tests 2 More straight forward and organized 2 It makes me think 1 No guidelines required 1 Other* 4 * Some answers were off-subject. 896
  9. 9. AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004WATERS, ET. AL. ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM With redirection by the teacher, off-task behaviors were few, and the tone was friendly, collegial, and supportive. Students desiring a more private venue worked to one side or even moved chairs to the hall. A second benefit was the creative expression of students as they demonstrated their understanding of the content. For example, one group of students interested in dance and theater constructed a set and scenery, wrote a script, recorded background music, and then put it all together in an original performance concerning weather. Another group of students created an entire deli menu and, in one part, described how the melted cheese in a specific sandwich was representative of intrusive geologic formations. Still another group presented a television-style weather fore- cast complete with remote reporting and news flash warnings. This originality was coupled with an increased use of technology. Within the classroom students: • constructed web pages for the Internet, • used classroom computers to create presentations, brochures, and other text documents, • displayed products via large-screen projection, • used e-mail to send information between peers and to the teacher, • researched and gathered information from a variety of sources. This increased use of technology allowed for application of computer skills in context, an initially unintended yet meaningful benefit.DISCUSSION The majority of surveyed students favored the longer-term alternative assessments over standard multiple-choice tests. These students believed that they were empowered by being given choices, were comfortable with their decisions concerning product type and working groups, and felt in control of the assessment process. This development of autonomy is a significant step in healthy adolescent maturation (Gurian, 1998; Pipher, 1994). In addition to increased student autonomy, the opportunities for choice provided for high levels of personalization throughout the process. Students had opportunities to tailor their efforts to match their respective learning styles and to work within their own areas of strength. Silver, Strong, and Perini (2000) identified four primary styles exhibited by students: the “mastery learner,” the “interpersonal learner,” the “under- 97
  10. 10. AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM WATERS, ET. AL. standing learner,” and the “self-expressive learner.” This study found that some students preferred the chance to be creative and artistic, but others did not. The differentiated process accommodated for these differences. Other students indicated that time to organize, think, and construct the product was the reason they preferred the alternative assessment model. This is a characteristic of the "understanding learners." Still other students indicated that the opportunity to work with peers was an impor- tant reason for preferring to complete assessment projects. This social aspect of the process fulfills a need of the “interpersonal learners” to work as a member of a team and attends to the social component of brain func- tion as outlined by Given (2000). Dunn and Dunn’s (1990) work on socialization supports the premise that some students not only prefer working in pairs or small groups but also achieve more when doing so.. Findings of Westwater and Wolfe (2000) indicate that when informa- tion can be personalized and made more relevant, students’ interest levels rise. Taken collectively, these data indicate that students preferred to have the assessment process personalized to their learning needs. This may help explain why students reported that this assessment process produced less pressure and was more “fun” than traditional testing. It was interesting to note that the most frequent student reason for preferring the differentiated, alternative assessments to multiple-choice tests was increased learning. This indicated that the students believed they learned more using the differentiated, assessment process. Recent constructivist research (Perkins, 1999) states that learning is enhanced when students must organize information, search for patterns and relation- ships, and connect knowledge or information to what has already been learned. A product created within this assessment model requires the students to employ all of these important skills. In contrast, several students preferred the multiple-choice exams, with one student stating, "All I have to do is know the answer and not even understand it." This response indicated acceptance of rote learning, even though knowing and understanding the answer so it can be used mean- ingfully in the future is what true learning should be. Embracing action research as a tool for classroom improvement involves additional time and commitment from the teacher-researcher. However, the advantage of being able to make informed modifications to classroom strategies was significant. Although the teacher-researcher gath- ered the data using the survey as an anchoring activity within the lesson, analysis of the results was done at home after school hours. In an attempt98
  11. 11. AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004WATERS, ET. AL. ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM to benefit the greatest number of students, the teacher reacted to the study results by retaining procedures or proposing modifications to the system. Examples of adjustments included increasing specificity in instructions, requiring more details in products, and the retention of choice, personal control in student products, and the use of extended periods of time. Reflection on the process and results provided the teacher with a greater insight into the beliefs and attitudes of the students. The author was pleased with the candor with which the students answered the ques- tions. The apparent importance of choice and control with teenagers was not unexpected, and anecdotal notes indicated that when the students discovered that they had some power to affect the process, they appeared to buy into the assessment model to a greater degree. The teacher also sensed that the increased communication with the students created a more mutually respectful atmosphere in the classroom. In addition to the effect in his own classroom, the teacher-researcher’s experience affected a wider sphere. Results from this study were presented to building and district level administrators at an administrative in-service and were also shared with in-service colleagues. In addition, pre-service teachers in a professional development school program had the opportunity to learn about the experience, ask questions, and incorpo- rate similar ideas in their own work.LIMITATIONS As with any action research, certain limitations were present in the study. No data were collected to determine if the students had truly learned more, achieved higher grades, or understood concepts better by engaging in the differentiated, alternative assessments. Also, the sample was small by design to make the project manageable to an in-service teacher with family, educational, and professional responsibilities. A larger sample may have provided additional insights that were not raised or found to be significant with the number of students involved, and because intact classes were used, a representative sample of the school or commu- nity based upon gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or special needs status was not obtained. A hallmark of action research is that it tends to focus on a small intact population, thus limiting generalizability Another limitation is that differentiated, alternative assessment was compared only to multiple-choice assessment. The narrow choice for comparison could not address the student attitudes regarding other forms of traditional assessment that are incorporated into many classrooms 99
  12. 12. AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM WATERS, ET. AL. today. Finally, as is also the nature of action research in the classroom, it tends to be conducted by the teacher, thereby introducing the potential for researcher bias.DISCUSSION Research of any kind often raises additional questions. Three questions surfaced that are being considered for the next cycle of action research. Did students actually achieve a greater level of understanding? Although the students reported that they had learned more, it is important for the researcher to implement a second study to quantify any increase in achievement. Secondly, was there a correlation between student learning styles and assessment choices? While there was no formal assessment of student learning styles in this study, it appeared to the teacher-researcher that students selected assessments that seemed consistent with their observed learning style; including a validated learning style instrument in the data gathering process would test this assumption. Thirdly, what is the role of traditional testing within a differentiated, alternative assessment model? Since some students indicated a preference for the traditional testing, it is important to consider the necessity of including all types of assessments as options. This need for clarification is consistent with the findings of Senk, Beckman, and Thompson (1997) on traditional and alter- native assessment.CONCLUSION As the national and state legislation mandates that schools “leave no child behind," classroom educators are faced with the challenge of figuring out how to achieve high levels of success for everyone in a society that relies increasingly on schools to do it all. This action research study illustrates two ways that might aid teachers in meeting this mandate. First, teachers will need to teach and assess each student in ways that facilitate and maximize learning. In addition it is imperative that the assessments will accurately reflect what students have learned. Secondly, teachers will need to don a new hat that of teacher-researcher, in order to continually evaluate their institutional practices in search of increased learning for all students.REFERENCES Mueller, S., Waters, F., Smeaton, P., & Pinciotti, P. (2001). Making informed choices: A model for comprehensive classroom assessment. Academic Exchange Quarterly 5 (1). 31-37. Borgia, E., & Schuler, D. (1996). Action research in early childhood education. ERIC Digest. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 401 047).100
  13. 13. AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004WATERS, ET. AL. ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM Darling-Hammond, L. (1997). The right to learn: A blueprint for creating schools that work. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Dunn, R. & Dunn. (1990). Introduction to learning style and brain behavior. Inter-Ed., 15(46-7), 5-11. Fleming, D. S. (2000). The AEL guide to action research. Charleston, WV: Appalachian Education Laboratory. Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple intelligences: The theory in practice. New York: Basic Books. Given, B. (2000). Theaters of the mind. Educational Leadership, 58(3), 72-75. Gurian, M. (1998). A fine young man. New York: Tarchner/Putnam. Holloway, J. H. (2000). How does the brain learn science? Educational Leadership, 58 (3), 85-86. McLaughlin, H., Watts, C., & Beard, M. (2000). Phi Delta Kappan. 82(4). 284. Johnson, B. (1993). Teacher-as-researcher. ERIC Digest. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 355205) Perkins, D. (1999). The many faces of constructivism. Educational Leadership, 57(3), 6-11. Pipher, M. P. (1994). Reviving Ophelia: Saving the selves of adolescent girls. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons: Senk, S., Beckmann, C., & Thompson, D. (1997). Assessment and grading in high school mathematics classrooms. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 28(2), 187-215. Silver, H. F., Strong, R. W., & Perini, M. J. (2000). So each may learn: Integrating learning styles and multiple intelligences. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Sylwester, R. (1995). A celebration of neurons: An educator’s guide to the human brain. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Tomlinson, C.A. (1999). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Weiss, I. (1997). The status of science and mathematics teaching in the United States: Comparing teacher views and classroom practice to national standards. ERS Spectrum, 15(3), 34-39. Westwater, A., & Wolfe, P. (2000). The brain-compatible curriculum. Educational Leadership, 58(3), 49-52. Wiggins, G., & Mctighe, J. (1998). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: 101
  14. 14. AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM WATERS, ET. AL.Appendix A The following statements concern the task assessments you are performing in class.Please read each of the following statements and indicate your level of agreement or disagree-ment by circling the appropriate number All questions must be answered. After completingthese questions, please return this paper to your teacher. Thank you. Strongly Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Disagree1. I like the idea of having a choice of assessments 5 4 3 2 12. I am comfortable with my choices of assessments. 5 4 3 2 13. I enjoy performing these assessments. 5 4 3 2 14. I am successful in completing these assessments. 5 4 3 2 15. I work hard at completing these assessments. 5 4 3 2 16. I learn a great deal by doing these assessments. 5 4 3 2 17. I am able to assess my own work by using the rubric provided. 5 4 3 2 18. I gather and combine information from different sources when completing the assessments. 5 4 3 2 19. I choose with whom I wish to work when completing an assessment. 5 4 3 2 110. I control the work I do on assessments. 5 4 3 2 111. I believe the assessments are challenging. 5 4 3 2 112. I prefer the new assessments more than completing a multiple-choice test. 5 4 3 2 1102
  15. 15. AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004WATERS, ET. AL. ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM Strongly Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Disagree13. Being able to choose my assessment is something I like. 5 4 3 2 114. My choices of assessments satisfy me. 5 4 3 2 115. The assessments make learning fun for me. 5 4 3 2 116. Undertaking the assessments allows me to succeed. 5 4 3 2 117. Successfully completing the assessments makes me work hard. 5 4 3 2 118. Working on these assessments helps me learn. 5 4 3 2 119. The rubric helps me assess my work. 5 4 3 2 120. The assessments require me to find and put together information from different sources. 5 4 3 2 121. Working on the assessments allows me to choose a partner. 5 4 3 2 122. The assessments allow me to be in charge of what I do. 5 4 3 2 123. Completing the assessments is challenging for me. 5 4 3 2 124. Selecting and completing a new assessment is a better selection for me than taking a multiple-choice exam. 5 4 3 2 1Please return this paper to your teacher. Thank you. 103
  16. 16. AMERICAN SECONDARY EDUCATION 32(3) SUMMER 2004ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOM WATERS, ET. AL.Appendix B. Assessment Preference QuestionnairePlease answer only one of the two questions below. If you prefer multiple-choice tests, answerquestion a. If you prefer the differentiated assessments, answer question b.A. Why do you prefer multiple-choice tests to the differentiated assessments you completed in class?B. Why do you prefer the differentiated assessments you completed in class to multiple-choice tests?104

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