Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM
Development of the Test of Astronomy STandards (TOAST) Assessment Instrument
Considerable effort in the astronomy domain of geoscience education over the past several years has focused on developing assessment tools in the form of multiple-choice conceptual diagnostics and content knowledge surveys. This has been critically important in advancing astronomy as a sub-discipline of geoscience education, allowing researchers to establish the initial knowledge state of students as well as to attempt to measure some of the impacts of innovative instructional interventions. Unfortunately, few of the existing instruments were constructed upon a solid list of clearly articulated and widely agreed upon learning objectives. Moving beyond the 10-year old Astronomy Diagnostics Test, we have developed and validated, and are in a position to disseminate a new assessment instrument which is tightly aligned to the consensus learning goals stated by the American Astronomical Society Chair's Conference on ASTRO 101, the American Association of the Advancement of Science's Project 2061 Benchmarks, and the National Research Council's National Science Education Standards. Researchers from the Cognition in Astronomy, Physics and Earth sciences Research (CAPER) Team at the University of Wyoming's Science and Math Teaching Center (UWYO SMTC) have designed a criterion-referenced assessment tool, called the Test Of Astronomy STandards (TOAST). Through iterative development, this multiple-choice instrument has a high degree of reliability and validity for instructors and researchers needing information on students' initial knowledge state at the beginning of a course and can be used, in aggregate, to help measure the impact of course-length duration instructional strategies for undergraduate science survey courses with learning goals tightly aligned to the consensus goals of the geosciences education community.