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Improving Quality of Science Teacher Training in European Cooperation

  Assessing Science for Understanding (CZ) Training Module Based on Socio-cognitive Constructivism (CY) European Dimension in Integrated Science Education (LT) Development Procedural Skills in Science Education (BG) Using Laboratory to Enhance Student Learning and Scientific Inquiry (TR)  
Unit 1 - A Conception of Integrated Science Education Unit 2 - Some Philosophic, Didactic and Social Aspects of Integrated Science Education Unit 3 - The Main Tendencies of Integrated Science Education Development Unit 4 & Unit 5 - Integrated Science Education in the Context of the Constructivism Theory
Unit 6 - The Models of Integrated Science Education Unit 7 - The Integrated Science Education Curricula and its Designing Principles in Comprehensive School Unit 8 - The Science Education Tools and Ways of Producing them in the Collaboration Process Unit 9 & Unit 10 - A Constructivist Approach to Integrated Science Education: Teaching Would-be Teachers to do Science
Unit 11 & Unit 12 - Contextual Teaching and Learning of Integrated Science in Lower and Upper Secondary Schools Unit 13 - The Evaluation Strategies of Integrated Science Teaching / Learning Unit 14 - The Collaboration Peculiarities of Science Teachers  

Unit 13
The Evaluation Strategies of Integrated Science Teaching / Learning

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The Evaluation Strategies of Integrated Science Teaching / Learning


In educational literature we can find different definitions on evaluation. Evaluation is the pay-off of description – it is the synthesis of descriptive information and criterial information according to very strict and difficult rules (Scriven, 1975). Evaluation can be characterised as the process by which people make judgements about value and worth; evaluation is the process by which people make value judgements about things (Oliver, 2000).

It is obvious that evaluation is a delicate and sensitive task. On the other hand, it is not a simple and obvious process. Usually evaluation has its formal and informal sides.

The main questions are:

There are two main evaluation strategies: formative and summative evaluation. The main characteristics of these two forms are presented in the table below.

Formative evaluation
(usually occurs early in the teaching process)
Summative evaluation
(usually occurs at the end of the teaching process)
based on data that measures quality;

The evaluation of the integrated science teaching is carried out at different levels and with the different purposes. One of the most important evaluation object is science curriculum. In many schools, evaluation of the curriculum is often an informal undertaking. Usually science teachers discuss the development of work at team or staff meetings and plan changes for the future. Results of an evaluation must be analyzed to draw concrete conclusions and recommendations for all process of teaching and learning. If we talking about curriculum evaluation there are six steps to effective evaluation (Bentley, Watts, 1992):

Different models of evaluation can be used.

Figure 7. Teaching performance evaluation model.

This model is presented by R.M Felder and R. Brent (2004). The main point in opinion of authors of the model is a triangulation in an evaluation process.

Also it is important to evaluate effectiveness of integrated science course. In this case, evaluator can use pre-course questionnaire and post-course questionnaire.

Guba and Lincoln (1981) and Nevo (1983) defined evaluation as the integration of description and judgment, in which the description part emphasizes the objective part of the assessment, while the judgment part dwells on its subjective aspect. Evaluation requires a systematic process, and the application of evaluation skills potentially enhances the objectivity of the descriptive part of the evaluation (Dori, Herscovitz, 1999).

Another important point is how to involve all students in evaluation. Black and Wiliam (1998) encourage teachers to use questioning and classroom discussion as an opportunity to increase their students' knowledge and improve understanding.

Different methods for evaluation can be applied:
It is important to mention some relevant approaches (strategies) for evaluation (Fox, Hackerman, 2003):
Usually we can describe science education as experimental activities of students. In this case it is important to evaluate students activities. W.Harlen (2000) adapted some questions connected with planned or possible activities. For example, does the activity:
Tasks (assignments)

  1. Referring to the definitions of evaluation listed in the teaching / learning material and the most acceptable concepts give an individual definition of the evaluation of integrated science self / education.
  2. Explain the following questions used in the evaluation process:

      Object of evaluation Time and reasons for evaluation Ways of evaluation

  3. What are the objects of evaluation in the process of integrated science education? To evaluate these objects, choose the most appropriate strategies of evaluation.
  4. What do you consider as the essence of an Integrated Science to your students?
Case study

Teacher X applies evaluation as a component of the educational process. Within the process of integrated science education, the teacher most frequently evaluates students’ achievements informally using the formative evaluation: promotes intensive students’ activities and verbally and in written form makes corrections to the process of learning. In order to choose an optimal content of learning, the teacher applies declarative evaluation i.e. when starting with a new topic, s/he interprets the already available learners’ knowledge and developed abilities.

Questions to Case Study

  1. What are the strategies of evaluation used by the above introduced teacher in the process of integrated science education?
  2. What strategies of evaluation are the most suitable to agree with the principles of constructive teaching / learning?

For an evaluation of process of science teaching and learning there are different strategy and ways. The main questions are: what is to be evaluated? when and why evaluate? how to evaluate? It is clear that for science teaching success one of the most important resources is feedback from students. Teachers can evaluate a whole science course, analyse students’ learning needs, and investigate students’ experiences of teaching. There are multiple methods for collecting data on science teaching effectiveness. Also it is clear that a key to effective teaching evaluation is to collect data from multiple sources (triangulation). Evaluation of teaching may be summative or formative.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the major criticisms of the General Science as a subject that resulted to the change to Integrated Science?

It is obvious, that many years ago, in many countries of the world, science courses were devised that attempted to cover the whole range of science in a balanced way. Such courses were in effect coordinated surveys of biology, chemistry and physics. Little was the real unity in the presentation of the course and in the examination of it. Teachers could not achieve any real integration in their teaching and teacher-training courses rarely prepared teachers for a unified approach to their teaching. General Science courses were also regarded as too superficial, as an inadequate base from which to develop higher level science courses and they were allocated too little time by schools authorities. It is possible to state that integrated science teaching is one of the logical steps in educational development.

Next Reading

Beijaard, D., & Verloop, N. (1996). Assessing teachers' practical knowledge. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 22, 275-286.

Black, P. (1998). Formative assessment: raising standards inside the classroom. School Science Review, 80, 291, p. 39-46.

Constable, H., & Long, A. (1991). Changing science teaching: Lessons from a long-term evaluation of a short in-service course. International Journal of Science Education, 13, 405-419.

Darling-Hammond, L., & Snyder, J. (2000). Authentic assessment of teaching in context. Teaching and Teacher Education, 16, 523-545.

Duffee, L., & Aikenhead, G. (1992). Curriculum change, student evaluation, and teacher practical knowledge. Science Education, 76, 493-506.

Yilmaz, H., Turkmen, H., Pedersen, J., & Huyuguzel Cavas, P. (2007). Evaluation of pre-service teachers’ images of science teaching in Turkey. Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Vol. 8, Issue 1. Available via Internet: http://www.ied.edu.hk/apfslt/v8_issue1/turkmen/index.htm#con

Jones, C. (1998). Evaluation using Ethnography: Context, content and collaboration. In Oliver, M. (Ed.) Innovation in the Evaluation of Learning Technology, London: University of North London Press, 87-100.

Lamanauskas, V. (2003). Natural Science Education in Contemporary School. Siauliai: Siauliai University Press, p. 514.

Leach, J., Scott, P. (2002). Designing and Evaluating Science Teaching Sequences: An Approach Drawing upon the Concept of Learning Demand and a Social Constructivist Perspective on Learning. Studies in Science Education, Vol. 38, Issue 1, p. 115 – 142.

Patton, M. (1997). Utilization-focused evaluation, London: Sage.

Sorcinelli, M.D. (1999). The evaluation of teaching: The 40-year debate about student, colleague, and self-evaluations. In B.A. Pescosolido, and R. Aminzade (Eds.), The social worlds of higher education: Handbook for teaching in a new century (pp. 195-205). Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.


Baugher, K. (1992). LEARN: The student quality team manual. Nashville, TN: LEARN.

Bentley, D., Watts, D.M. (1992). Communicating in School Science: Groups, Tasks and Problem Solving 5-16. London: Falmer Press.

Black, P., and Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education, 5 (1): 7-74.

Dori, Y.J., Herscovitz, O. (1999). Question-Posing Capability as an Alternative Evaluation Method: Analysis of an Environmental Case Study. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Vol. 36, No. 4, p. 411-430.

Greene, E. (2000, June 23). Some colleges pay students to go to class—to evaluate teaching. The Chronicle of Higher Education, A18.

Guba, E.G., & Lincoln, Y.S. (1981). Effective evaluation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Felder, R.M., Brent, R. (2004). How to evaluate teaching. Chemical Engineering Education, 38(3), p. 200-202.

Fox, M. A., Hackerman, N. (Eds) (2003). Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington: The National Academies Press.

Harlen, W. (2000). The Teaching of Science in Primary Schools. London, David Fulton Publishers.

Hutchings, P. (Ed.). (1998). The course portfolio: How faculty can examine their teaching to advance practice and improve student learning. Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education.

Nevo, D. (1983). The conceptualization of educational evaluation: An analytical evaluation of the literature. Review of Educational Research, 53, 117–128.

Oliver, M. (2000). An introduction to the Evaluation of Learning Technology. Educational Technology & Society, 3(4), p. 20-30.

Scriven, M. (1975). Evaluation in Science Education. Ohio.

Wright, J.C., Millar, S.B., Kosciuk, S.A., Penberthy, D.L., Williams, P.H., and Wampold, B.E. (1998). A novel strategy for assessing the effects of curriculum reform on student competence. Journal of Chemical Education 75,986-992.