Discouraging results : problematizing test questions in science education

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Discouraging results : problematizing test questions in science education

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Publication Conference Paper, peer reviewed
Title Discouraging results : problematizing test questions in science education
Author(s) Serder, Margareta
Date 2013
English abstract
The increasing importance and consequences of knowledge measurements and international comparisons calls for problematizing tests and test-questions. Previous studies have demonstrated that the way test-questions are formulated in themselves largely affect the ways the students perceive and answer to them. This paper adopts a dialogical theoretical perspective and aims to discuss one of the assumptions that individual assessment relies on, namely that of message-transfer. It does so through exploring the interaction between students and test-questions in scientific literacy, with PISA as an example. How are the texts, illustrations and everyday context in the test negotiated by students, and what meanings are students’ making from them in a situation of collaborative problem-solving? 16 hours of videotaped talk and actions, from situations in which four classes of 15 year old students worked with a selection of PISA science problems in small groups, have been transcribed and content- and semantically analyzed. The analysis shows that all groups of students discuss the meanings of the test questions. It is argued that test-occurring words, such as “reference”, “factor” or “pattern”, that are negotiated among the students can be seen to have an intended meaning in this specific context, but can also be interpreted within other contexts and with other meanings. It is concluded that the students, when put in this situation of collaborative problem solving, above all act as learners of many disciplines at the same time in the sense that their situational meaning making also borrow meanings from mathematical and everyday contexts. Therefore it is argued that meanings are not unambiguously transferred as intended and that this is also reinforced by the descriptions of everyday context and mathematical illustrations, like graphs and diagrams, in the test.
Pages 3
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Note 10th Conference of the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA), Nicosia, Cyrus, 2-7 September 2013
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/16052 (link to this page)
Link http://www.esera2013.org.cy/ (external link to related web page)

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