Publications & Resources

On the Assessment of Science Achievement: Conceptual Underpinnings for the Design of Performance Assessments: Report of Year 2 Activities

Nov 1998

Richard J. Shavelson and Maria Araceli Ruiz-Primo

In this paper we provide one possible definition of science achievement and hypothesize links between the definition and instruments that can used be used to measure achievement. We define three types of science: declarative – knowing that something is true; procedural – knowing how to do something; and strategic – knowing the which, when, and why of doing something. The working definition identifies several characteristics of knowledge that should be considered in achievement testing and that can help identify competent and less competent students in a domain: structure – experts have highly organized knowledge, novices do not; and metacognition – experts monitor their actions and flexibly adjust them based on feedback. We also describe some instruments for measuring science achievement following from this broader notion and provide evidence bearing on their technical quality.

Shavelson, R. J., & Ruiz-Primo, M. A. (1998). On the assessment of science achievement: Conceptual underpinnings for the design of performance assessments: Report of Year 2 activities (CSE Report 491). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).