2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


MANDUCA, Cathryn, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College St, Northfield, MN 55057, GOBERT, Janice, Concord Consortium, Concord, MA 01742, LAWS, Priscilla, Physics, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA 17013, MOGK, David W., Dept. of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717 and REYNOLDS, Stephen J., Dept. of Geological Sciences, Arizona State Univ, Dept. Geol Sciences - PSF 686, ASU, Tempe, AZ 85287-1404, cmanduca@carleton.edu

In May 2005, the NSF funded “On the Cutting Edge” professional development program brought together 42 leaders in cognition, education, assessment, and geoscience education to improve our ability to design and use effective assessments of student learning in the geosciences. As the geoscience curriculum continues to expand and evolve, new assessment strategies are needed to monitor student learning about the complex Earth system, to review the efficacy of instructional materials and practices, and to generally support excellence in geoscience education. The workshop introduced state of the art developments in assessment and their application to the geosciences, and participants developed new perspectives on the challenges of developing assessment tools that will support a rigorous and thorough understanding of student learning. They recognized that assessment is used for a number of different purposes including promoting and understanding learning, informing teaching, assigning grades and for institutional or professional evaluation as the basis for faculty rewards and recognition. To be successful in these roles, assessments need to gather information about student mastery of content, concepts, and skills as well as attitudes. Further, to be most effective, an integrated and iterative approach to development of assignments, goals, methods and assessments must be coupled with a firm grounding in cognitive research and theory, scholarship of teaching and learning, and assessment research and practice. The workshop participants recommend continued facilitation of opportunities for collaboration between geoscience faculty and those with expertise in assessment; for sharing of existing assessment activities and instruments and the strategies for use and adaptation; and for professional development regarding development of assessments and their use. As a step in this direction,the workshop produced a rich website that includes assessment activities for the geosciences, a collection of assessment tools and instruments, references for learning more about different types of assessment and their use in different learning environments, and participant essays, presentations, and posters from the workshop (http://serc.Carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/assess).