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Article

Designing a Learning Progression about Micro-Evolution to Inform Instruction and Assessment in Elementary Science

1
Center for Teaching Innovation, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
2
Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ching Sing Chai
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(10), 609; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11100609
Received: 17 August 2021 / Revised: 20 September 2021 / Accepted: 29 September 2021 / Published: 2 October 2021
(This article belongs to the Section STEM Education)
This paper gives an example of how to address the challenge of designing a learning progression that describes student thinking, with the necessary specificity to align instructional opportunities and assessment tools. We describe the Conceptual Underpinnings of Evolution project and the iterative process of developing a novel learning progression theory, while critically testing that theory using structured interview data analyzed with Rasch models. We investigate elementary students’ capacities for reasoning in biology, specifically focusing on microevolution as a strategic core idea for students between the ages of seven and nine. The learning progression theory informed the design of two instructional modules which aimed to build on students’ intuitions. The modules provided opportunities for students to engage in scientific practices framed to develop more adequate explanations about how organisms may change over time, in accordance with environmental changes. Aligning the learning progression, instructional activities, and structured interview assessment was critical for meeting two of our underlying assumptions: that students’ reasoning capacities rely on instructional opportunities; and that students’ assessment scores must be interpretable in terms of learning progression levels. We share both initial and late-stage versions of the learning progression and describe how item-level information and Rasch analyses helped both to specify the learning progression levels and to define the two underlying dimensions. View Full-Text
Keywords: learning progression; assessment; instruction; cognition; science; evolution; item response theory; Rasch models; structured interviews learning progression; assessment; instruction; cognition; science; evolution; item response theory; Rasch models; structured interviews
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cardace, A.; Wilson, M.; Metz, K.E. Designing a Learning Progression about Micro-Evolution to Inform Instruction and Assessment in Elementary Science. Educ. Sci. 2021, 11, 609. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11100609

AMA Style

Cardace A, Wilson M, Metz KE. Designing a Learning Progression about Micro-Evolution to Inform Instruction and Assessment in Elementary Science. Education Sciences. 2021; 11(10):609. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11100609

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cardace, Amy, Mark Wilson, and Kathleen E. Metz. 2021. "Designing a Learning Progression about Micro-Evolution to Inform Instruction and Assessment in Elementary Science" Education Sciences 11, no. 10: 609. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11100609

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