Romance Between Curriculum Developers and Assessment Developers

CRDG’s long history of leadership and innovation in science education was recognized in a series of publications in 2008. Richard Shavelson of Stanford University was the guest editor for a special issue of Applied Measurement in Education that reported the findings of a multi-year collaborative project, dubbed a romance by Shavelson, between assessment developers at the Stanford Education Assessment Laboratory and science curriculum developers at CRDG. The project looked at the impact of embedding formative assessments in CRDG’s middle school science curriculum, Foundational Approaches in Science Teaching (FAST). As described by Shavelson in his introduction, the study asked these questions:

(a) What does it take to build and embed conceptually coherent formative assessments in curriculum?

(b) Do teachers implement formative assessment as intended after training?

(c) What is the impact of formative assessment on students’ learning, motivation, and conceptual change?

(d) What might be learned from the collaboration of curriculum developers and assessment developers so that in the future, such romances may learn from our experience?

The five articles that make up the special issue provide a wealth of information on the potential and the challenges the formative assessment movement presents.

This project was also featured in a chapter in Assessing Science Learning, a major new publication of the National Science Teachers Association. Another article, “The Complexity of Measuring the Quality of Program Implementation With Observations” in the American Journal of Evaluation was written by a group of CRDG researchers that included science educators and evaluators and focused on new insights into the issues involved in research design.

A five-year study of the impact of embedding formative assessment in the science curriculum led to a wealth of new information that has been recognized as an important contribution to the literature.