Chapter 19: The Central Importance of Assessing “Doing Science” to Research and Instruction1
Published:21 Dec 2022
C. E. Schwarz, K. S. DeGlopper, A. J. Ellison, B. J. Esselman, and R. L. Stowe, in Student Reasoning in Organic Chemistry, ed. N. Graulich and G. Shultz, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2022, ch. 19, pp. 320-337.
Download citation file:
Inferring what students know and can do from their responses to assessment tasks is an integral part of enacting and studying organic chemistry learning environments. Tasks emphasized and rewarded by a course are likely to be seen as “important” by enrolled students, and outcomes measured influence how a given study operationalizes “success”. In this chapter, we will provide a brief overview of assessment-as-argumentation followed by discussion of the sorts of performances worth assessing and how measures of these performances should inform research and practice. We argue that intellectual work important to the practice of organic chemistry can be defined in terms of using big ideas (e.g., energy, bonding interactions) to engage in science practices with the goal of explaining or modelling phenomena. Assessments with the potential to engage students in constructing causal accounts for phenomena (i.e., sensemaking) should thus feature prominently in the classroom and as outcome measures in scholarly work. Development and use of sensemaking-focused organic chemistry assessments in studies of learning and learning environments will be discussed with examples taken from throughout the published literature.