Good Practice in Science Teaching: What Research Has to Say

Good Practice in Science Teaching: What Research Has to Say

Good Practice in Science Teaching: What Research Has to Say

Good Practice in Science Teaching: What Research Has to Say


This book offers a summary of major educational research and scholarship important to the field of science education. Written, in a clear, concise and readable style, the authors have identified the principal messages and their implications for the practice of science teaching. Aimed at science teachers of children of all ages, and others who work in teaching and related fields, the book provides an invaluable first guide for science teachers. All of the chapters are written by authors from King's College and the University of Leeds, both of which are institutions with an international reputation for their work in the field with top research ratings. Each chapter summarises the research work and evidence in the field, discussing its significance, reliability and implications. Valuable lists of further reading and full references are provided at the end of each chapter.


As well as planning schemes of work and teaching lessons, teachers need to monitor students' learning. Formative assessment is the obvious means of providing students with feedback to improve their performance. The term 'formative assessment' does not have a tightly defined and widely accepted meaning. In this chapter it is interpreted as encompassing all those activities, undertaken by teachers, and/or by their students, which provide information to be used as feedback to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged.

This chapter is based on a recent review of the research evidence on formative assessment (Black and Wiliam 1998a). The first of the three main sections will discuss some aspects of the research evidence that indicate guidelines for improving classroom practice. The second discusses research evidence about the quality of such practice. The third section then discusses the implications for practice which follow from the evidence.

Features of research on formative assessment

Evidence of success

From the literature published since 1986, it is possible to select at least 20 studies which describe how the effects of formative assessment have been tested by quantitative experimental-control comparisons. All of these studies show that innovations which strengthen the practice of formative assessment produce significant learning gains. These studies range over all ages (from 5-year-olds to university undergraduates), across several school subjects, and over several countries. The experimental outcomes are reported in . . .

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