Assessment in Math and Science: What's the Point?

Workshops for K-12 science teachers:
Eight 90-minute video programs and guides.

"Will this be on the test?"
"Is this going to count?"

How many times a day do students ask you these questions? Join K-12 teachers from across the country in this eight-part series of interactive workshops on math and science assessment. Using video clips from Annenberg Learner programs, participants will examine current assessment issues and explore strategies for assessment reform in theirclassrooms. Originally broadcast in spring of 1998, the series is hosted by Michael Hibbard, Monica Neagoy, Mary Neumann, and Jude Pelchat with guest commentary from K-12 teachers and other science educators.

Program guides and supporting materials: Workshop Leader's Package (PDF)

Produced by:
Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory
with support from Annenberg Learner (1998)

Workshop 1 - Will This Be on the Test?
Knowing vs. Understanding

Understanding is more than simply knowing. This workshop will set the stage for the entire series by examining what it means to understand, and will explore how teachers can design a set of performance tasks to fairly and accurately assess the levels of understanding that their students have or have not achieved.
Content Guide: Michael Hibbard

Workshop 2 - What'd I Get?
Scoring Tools

Well-designed performance tasks give teachers the information necessary to evaluate the depth of students' understanding - but how can teachers determine quality work? This workshop will demonstrate how teachers can construct assessment tools to use as benchmarks against which to measure student understanding. The role of students in the construction of scoring tools and the process of assessment will be a primary focus.
Content Guide: Michael Hibbard
Workshop 3 - Is This Going to Count?
Embedded Assessment

Assessment does not compete for valuable teaching time; it is teaching time. This workshop will show how embedding assessment into everyday curriculum turns performance tasks into learning activities, and allows teachers to shape subsequent instruction according to what their students have and have not understood.
Content Guide: Monica Neagoy
Workshop 4 - I Didn't Know This Was an English Class!
Connections Across the Disciplines

One measure of students' depth of understanding is the connections they can make across disciplines. This workshop will explore ways in which teachers can encourage these connections by designing performance tasks which build on other disciplines.
Content Guide: Monica Neagoy
Workshop 5 - You WILL Be Tested on This!
Standardized Testing

Most teachers are under pressure to get their students to perform well on state and national tests, but sometimes it seems that too much attention is paid to these tests. This workshop will consider how teachers can use standardized tests to focus their teaching so that student performance improves in the classroom as well as on these external measures of success.
Workshop 6 - That Would Never Work Here!
Seeing Assessment Reform in Action, Part I

What does assessment reform actually look like? This workshop will follow the stories of Barbara, a math teacher in Whittier, California, and Scott, a science teacher in Louisville, Kentucky, as they share how they are incorporating assessment into their teaching practice. Emphasis will be placed on the colleague support structure - teachers sharing ideas with and getting help from other teachers.
Content Guides: Mary Hibert Neuman and Jude Pelchat
Workshop 7 - That Would Never Work Here Either!
Seeing Assessment Reform in Action, Part II

Involving students in assessment is often the key to engaging them in learning. This workshop will continue to follow Barbara and Scott as they use assessment to encourage their students to improve their performance. Providing opportunities for students to assess their own work and that of their peers will be the focus of this workshop.
Content Guides: Mary Hibert Neuman and Jude Pelchat
Workshop 8 - When I Was in School...
Implementing Assessment Reform

Changing old ways is not easy. Communication is the first step toward encouraging support for new assessment strategies. This workshop will focus on the importance of collaboration among teachers, administrators and, especially, parents, when implementing assessment reform in a school or district.
Content Guide: Michael Hibbard

Copyright © 1998
Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory