Publications & Resources

Evaluation of the Enhanced Assessment Grants (EAGs) SimScientists Program: Site Visit Findings

May 2011

Joan Herman, Yunyun Dai, Aye Mon Htut, Marcela Martinez and Nichole Rivera

This evaluation report addresses the implementation, utility, and feasibility of simulation-based assessments for middle school science classrooms, with particular attention to the use of accommodations available in the program. During site visits, researchers
conducted classroom observations and teacher interviews addressing the major components
of the SimScientists program in two topics: (1) Ecosystem and (2) Force and Motion. The SimScientists program includes embedded, formative assessments; reflection activities designed to deepen student understanding of key ideas and processes; and benchmark assessments to gauge student learning at the end of the unit. While teachers and students alike were very positive about their experiences with SimScientists, the evaluation team offered several recommendations for improvement–in particular, recommendations for refining the program’s embedded and benchmark assessments and for increasing the feasibility of the reflection activities.

Herman, J., Dai, Y., Htut, A. M., Martinez, M., & Rivera, N. (2011). Evaluation of the enhanced assessment grants (EAGs) SimScientists program: Site visit findings (CRESST Report 791). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).