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ERIC Number: EJ1188388
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1087-3430
The Role of Disciplinary Core Ideas and Practices in the Complexity of Large-Scale Assessment Items
Gotwals, Amelia Wenk; Hokayem, Hayat; Song, Tian; Songer, Nancy Butler
Electronic Journal of Science Education, v17 n1 2013
The Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC, 2011) outlines core disciplinary ideas, scientific practices and cross-cutting ideas as dimensions on which to base science education. This study outlines the use of core ecological ideas and two scientific practices as a way to examine the cognitive complexity of released large-scale assessment items in Ecology. We present results from analysis of 212 released items from state, national and international sources and compare the types of core ecological ideas and scientific practices required to successfully complete these assessment tasks. We administered a subset of items to students to examine how well our rubric was aligned with students' interactions with the items. Our findings indicate that different sources of items have different proportions of item formats and have items designed to elicit different types of core ideas and practices from students. The analysis of students' responses to items indicates that using a framework of core ecological ideas and scientific practices provide a good indication of item difficulty. However, this paper highlights several instances where the coding of items does not match students' responses to items and we analyze possible reasons for the discrepancies -- including both item design flaws and opportunity to learn.
Southwestern University and Texas Christian University. TCU Box 297900, Fort Worth, TX 76129. Tel: 817-257-6115; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study; National Assessment of Educational Progress
Grant or Contract Numbers: REC0089283|REC0129331