National Pingtung University of Education (TAIWAN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Page: 2847
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
Knowing and understanding of the language of science is viewed as an essential component of scientific literacy and the focus of the reformed science curriculum. Hence assessment of scientific literacy involves assessing both language being used in science and epistemic perspective of science that is different from traditional assessment. In order to provide an overview of one such assessment, we report the process of development and the results of a recent pilot testing conducted in Taiwan with 509 forth and sixth graders.

The design of the assessment instrument involved two phases. The two phases were: (a) define the components of science literacy regarding reading science text; (b) developing an instrument using science text and items for assessing science literacy. Phase 1 of the development process consisted of the first 2 steps intended to define the boundaries of science literacy, in terms of reading comprehension, for elementary school students. The draft of the science literacy statements for elementary students was validated by a panel of 10 experts at a reviewing meeting. Phase 1 revealed that there were four intertwined components involved in the science literacy for elementary students: (a) understanding scientific terms; (b) identifying the main idea or investigating question in the text; (c) linking to the main idea or investigation question, locating methods and evidence in the text; and (d) drawing evidence-based conclusion or making prediction based on the explanations . Phase 2, development of the instrument, involved seven steps that intended to develop science texts and items for assessing students’ science literacy. All texts and follow-up items were validated by the same panel of experts.

The final versions of the instrument RCS contains two versions of test: one is for middle level of elementary school students (MLES, grade 3 and 4), the other is for higher level of elementary school students (HLES, grade 5 and 6). While the MLES version involves 6 science texts with correspondent figures and 24 follow-up items in all, the HLES version consists of 6 science texts with correspondent figures or tables and 25 follow-up items overall. All texts were expository texts and written in Chinese. The whole paper takes 30 minutes.

The discrimination indices for the item in these tests range from 0.40 to1.0. Items with discrimination indices greater than 0.30 were considered acceptable without the need for further revision. The difficulty indices of item ranged from 0.40 to 0.80. Taking the students’ cognitive development into account, this result was considered to be acceptable. The discriminate validity described as the mean correlation of each category with the other three categories, from 0.00 to 0.30 for the MLES version and from 0.05 to 0.20 for the HLES version, suggest that each category measure distinct, but a little overlapping aspects of students’ reading comprehension on science.

The limitation of this study resides in its generalization i.e. it was constrained by the researchers’ perceptions of scientific literacy, and focused on a particular phenomenon of interest.
scientific literacy, reading comprehension, science text.