Diagnostic assessment in science as a means to improving teaching, learning and retention

David F. Treagust

Abstract


The nature and extent of students’ understanding of scientific concepts and phenomena are key components of any science curriculum. In order to gauge the effectiveness of classroom instruction to facilitate students’ understanding of scientific concepts, appropriate assessment tools have to be readily available for use by classroom teachers. This paper addresses the importance of assessment in science learning and presents a review of the development, in particular, of two-tier multiple-choice diagnostic instruments that have been reported in the science education research literature and suggests that their development and use can make an important contribution to improving teaching, students’ learning and maintaining student interest in the science concepts with which they are engaged.

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