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EDUCATIONAL TOOLS TO ASSESS STUDENTS’ THINKING SKILLS

M.M. Chrzanowski1, I. Buczek2, P. Walicki2, B. Ostrowska2

1Educational Research Institute / Military University of Technology (POLAND)
2Educational Research Institute (POLAND)
Knowledge can be considered as the sum of skills and information gathered by student. The thinking skills and reasoning processes are considered a critical element in process of teaching science subjects. In 2008 the new Science Curriculum based on idea of learning outcomes was introduced. The Curriculum emphasizes the role of experiment and observations in development of complex skills.
In order to check the effectiveness of this reform in students' skills enhancement some long-term studies are needed. To carry out these studies a set of tests was developed. The tests have to be confidential in order to assess students’ skills year by year with the same questionnaire and each question should test mastery of one particular complex skill to enable a precise measurement.
One of the research activities of our group is to develop new assessment tools of students’ knowledge in chemistry, biology, physics and geography. These tools are designed to assess students from the ISCED 2 stage. To check the quality of the tools large scale tests and some cognitive labs in Polish schools were conducted. Exemplary factors investigated in cognitive labs were: method used by a student to solve the problem, difficulty of the problem and amount of time necessary to solve it. Students were also asked what they thought about the exercise – was the tool interesting and suitable for ISCED 2 stage.
The exact results of this test and another large scale test as well as example tools with tips on their development will be presented.