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ERIC Number: EJ1164163
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
Design and Assessment of a Skills-Based Geoscience Curriculum
Renshaw, Carl E.
Journal of Geoscience Education, v62 n4 p668-678 Nov 2014
There is increasing interest in science curricula that engage students in scientific practices to deepen their understanding of the core ideas of the field. There are, however, few examples of their designs or assessments available for use as guides for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of particular designs. We offer a summary of our experience in designing and assessing a skills-based geoscience curriculum contextualized within a recently proposed, generalized framework for curricular designs and assessment. Our novel approach to curriculum assessment, with its emphasis on ensuring that the skills highlighted in different courses align with the objectives of the curriculum, is meant to complement more-direct assessments of student mastery of various skills. Assessment results reveal good alignment of course and curricular objectives, in some cases, whereas other parts of the curriculum require refinement. The most challenging of which is the failure of the introductory-level courses to emphasize the process of science. That result is consistent with recent work demonstrating that current approaches to teaching the nature of science are often ineffective. Thus, some of the most challenging problems with more traditional curricula, such as how to help students develop a more-advanced understanding of the nature of science, are not necessarily solved by focusing curricula on the integration of skills with content.
National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Carleton College W-SERC, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057. Tel: 540-568-6675; Fax: 540-568-8058; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Hampshire
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A