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Weaving Science Inquiry and Continuous Assessment

Using Formative Assessment to Improve Learning

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Weaving Science Inquiry and Continuous Assessment by Maura O'Brien Carlson
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Weaving Science Inquiry & Continuous Assessment explores the nature of continuous assessment in the context of science inquiry, and contains specific tools and techniques, along with stories and strategies in teachers' own words. Chapters cover the following subjects that reflect the latest information and most current teaching environment: - the essence of continuous assessment - the context for continuous assessment - techniques and tools for facilitating inquiry and collecting student data - analyzing and using continuous assessment data - challenges, realities and advice - continuous assessment and professional growth By engaging in this process of inquiry and continuous assessment, both students and teachers will benefit from this fresh approach to learning, thinking, and assessment.

Author Biography

Maura O'Brien Carlson works to empower teachers in their understanding and practice of inquiry-based teaching and learning, and formative assessment. "I have the greatest respect for teachers and their contributions to the lives of children," says Maura. "They are the professionals in their field. They know each of their students' strengths and weaknesses and use developmentally appropriate strategies to work with the age group they teach. What we can offer these teachers is an opportunity to expand their view of teaching, assessment, and learning to include inquiry and continuous assessment." Maura is the Co-Director of the Center for Science Education and Professional Development, at Learning Innovations at WestEd. "In our professional development initiatives, we model good teaching and assessment practices for teachers and teacher educators", Maura explains. Recently, Maura, along with Karen Reinhardt, and Gregg Humphrey, has been working on an NSF funded project to develop materials for these teachers and professional developers that are user-friendly and portray what good science teaching, learning, and assessment look like. "Building expertise in your field means being deliberately reflective about your work with learners," Maura says. She believes that teachers are better prepared to catalyze and support their students' learning, when they are given opportunities to pursue their own inquiries in science and about science teaching and assessment. This along with having occasions to reflect on their own practice and share with their peers, teachers will be better able to catalyze and support their students' learning. Prior to working on these projects Maura served as a research associate for the National Center for Improving Science Education and has co-authored two of the Center's major reports, and the book, "Elementary School Science for the '90s". She has co-directed three large NSF funded grants from l990 to present. Maura, along with other leaders in Vermont, has been instrumental in the development of a vision for systemic change in the State for science education. In this capacity she has served as one of the Co-Principal Investigators, and as a Professional Development Specialist for the Vermont Statewide Systemic Initiative. In her evaluation work, she has been a part of evaluation teams for three NSF funded initiatives. Her background includes teaching elementary science methods courses at the University of Vermont, and twelve years teaching science at the middle and secondary school levels. She holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology from Trinity College, and a Masters in Education and Environmental Studies from the University of VT, both located in Burlington, VT. Maura is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys hiking and cross country skiing. In the summer you can find her in her perennial garden. Gregg Humphrey's belief is that you teach the way you are taught. With this in mind, Gregg's courses are inquiry-based, students taking an active role as preservice teachers. As the Director of Elementary Teacher Education, Middlebury College, he works directly with the Middlebury community. Each pre-service student is assigned to a classroom in an elementary school within the Addison Central Supervisory Union where they to apply the ideas emerging from their course work. Gregg is very familiar with the schools and teachers of County due to his work of over thirty years in this area. He is a graduate of Middlebury College ('70) and spent eighteen years at Mary Hogan Elementary School in Middlebury. He was a classroom teacher, an assistant principal, science curriculum coordinator, and Title I director during his time at Mary Hogan and Addison Supervisory Union. Along with Bob Prigo, Middlebury College Physicist, Maura O'Brien Carlson of Learning Innovations At WestEd, and colleagues from around and the Northeast, Gregg co-directed three large National Science Foundation grants aimed at reforming elementary science. In this capacity he worked with teams of teachers, teacher leaders, and administrators locally, regionally, and nationally to support an inquiry approach to science and the professional development needed to sustain teaching improvement. He has produced a series of videotapes, and has authored many articles science inquiry-based teaching and learning, continuous assessment, and change initiatives in science education. His current area of research is in the area of formative assessment as a driving force behind both student and teacher development. Gregg holds a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology, Elementary Teacher Education from Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont, and a M.ED in Administration and Planning with emphasis on curriculum and instruction from the University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont. He has a passion for golf, bluegrass music (his music group is known as Snake Mountain Bluegrass), and cooking! Karen Reinhardt is a former Co-Director of the Center for Science Education (having worked at the Center as a Program Associate for several years prior to becoming Co-Director.) She left the Center in July, 2002 to pursue graduate study in educational administration and supervision. Karen's responsibilities at the Center included working with the project team on a National Science Foundation-funded grant to develop video and print materials for professional developers helping teachers incorporate inquiry-oriented science and continuous assessment into their classrooms. She also provided direct professional development services in science inquiry and continuous assessment to teachers, teacher leaders, and other professional developers, both locally and nationally. Prior to working at the Center, Karen served as Professional Development Coordinator for the National Gardening Association in Burlington, Vermont. While there she directed the professional development component of the National Science Foundation-funded Growing Science Inquiry Project. This role included working with leadership teams of teachers, administrators, and horticultural partners in twelve school districts nationally to support teachers to implement inquiry-based science with plants. As part of this work, she co-authored the Growlab Consultants' Toolkit and the Windows on the Classroom video series and Facilitator's Guide. Karen has a Bachelor's degree in Child Study from Tufts University, and was the recipient of the Eliot Pearson Department of Child Study Award for outstanding scholarship and teaching potential. She holds a Vermont Level II: Professional Educator's License, with endorsements in Early Childhood and K-6 Education.
Release date NZ
June 18th, 2003
Country of Publication
United States
Corwin Press Inc
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