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Assessing Science Understanding - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780124983656, 9780080499499

Assessing Science Understanding

1st Edition

A Human Constructivist View

Editors: Joel Mintzes James Wandersee Joseph Novak
eBook ISBN: 9780080499499
Hardcover ISBN: 9780124983656
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 20th December 1999
Page Count: 386
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Table of Contents

J. Mintzes and J.H. Wandersee, Learning, Teaching, and Assessment: A Human Constructivist Perspective.
K.M. Edmondson, Assessing Science Understanding Through Concept Maps.
J.J. Mintzes and J.D. Novak, Assessing Science Understanding: The Epistemological V Diagram.
S.A. Southerland, M.U. Smith, and C.L. Cummins, "What Do You Mean by That?": Using Structured Interviews to Assess Science Understanding.
K. Hogan and J. Fisherkeller, Dialogue as Data: Assessing Students' Scientific Reasoning with Interactive Protocols.
J.H. Wandersee, Designing an Image-Based Biology Test.
E. Trowbridge and J.H. Wandersee, Observation Rubrics in Science Assessment.
M.R. Vitale and N.R. Romance, Portfolios in Science Assessment: A Knowledge-Based Model for Classroom Practice.
K.M. Fisher, SemNetR Software as an Assessment Tool.
A.B. Champagne and V.L. Kouba, Writing to Inquire: Written Products as Performance Measures.
P.M. Sadler, The Relevance of Multiple-Choice Testing in Assessing Science Understanding.
P. Tamir, National and International Assessment.
R.J. Shavelson and M.A. Ruiz-Primo, On the Psychometrics of Assessing Science Understanding.
R.G. Good, Cautionary Notes on Assessment of Understanding Science Concepts and Nature of Science.
J.J. Mintzes, J.H. Wandersee, and J.D. Novak, Epilogue: On Ways of Assessing Science Understanding.
Subject Index.


Recent government publications such as Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy and Science for All Americans have given teachers a mandate for improving science education in America. What we know about how learners construct meaning--particularly in the natural sciences--has undergone a virtual revolution in the past 25 years. Teachers, as well as researchers, are now grappling with how to better teach science, as well as how to assess whether students are learning. Assessing Science Understanding is a companion volume to Teaching Science for Understanding and explores how to assess whether learning has taken place. The book discusses a range of promising new and practical tools for assessment, including concept maps, vee diagrams, clinical interviews, problem sets, performance-based assessments, computer-based methods, visual and observational testing, portfolios, explanatory models, and national examinations.


Researchers in education and educational psychology; teachers of science at all levels of education.


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 1999
20th December 1999
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:
Hardcover ISBN:


"This is a timely and useful book for science educators or anyone training to use construct-based assessment in an educational setting. Each chapter has references, advanced organizers, and appropriate figures and adequately discusses the cognitive model used with the assessment device and the logic of its use. This high-quality contribution would be a good addition for libraries of schools offering undergraduate and graduate teacher education degrees, and would be particularly useful for science education programs. The companion volume, Teaching Science for Understanding (1998) by the same editors, should also be considered."

"It is difficult to imagine that a reflective teacher who is interested in improving one's practice would not find something of value in these pages...The success of this project will depend on the extent to which the intended audience is willing to dig into the references, reflect on the lessons within the book, and also reflect on teaching practice as they experiment with ways to improve it. If these books, and others like them, have their intended impact, science education will have a bright future."

"...a source of excellent information on new and potentially very powerful, research-based assessment strategies for probing student understanding of science."

"If one is interested in "constructivist" assessment in science, this book is a good resource..."

Ratings and Reviews

About the Editors

Joel Mintzes

Joel Mintzes

Affiliations and Expertise

University of North Carolina, Wilmington, U.S.A.

James Wandersee

James Wandersee

Affiliations and Expertise

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, U.S.A.

Joseph Novak

Joseph Novak

Affiliations and Expertise

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A.