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Teachers' Use of Learning Progression-Based Formative Assessment in Water Instruction


"In this paper, we draw on case studies of two teachers participating in an NSF-supported environmental science learning progression-based professional development project and implementing learning progression-based teaching experiments in their classrooms. The teachers both used instructional materials from a teaching experiment developed by the project. The materials addressed water movement through environmental systems and integrated learning progression-based lessons and formative assessments. We also report findings from a larger group of project teachers who completed learning progression-based science content and pedagogical content knowledge assessments. We examined how the teachers: 1) understood and used a water systems learning progression in their instruction, 2) described the purpose of formative assessment, 3) elicited and interpreted their students ideas with respect to a water systems learning progression framework, and 4) responded to their students' ideas with instruction. Findings suggest that for many teachers, their knowledge and practices are consistent with instruction likely to support students in developing descriptive rather than model-based understanding of water systems. Further work with 2 teachers will lead to better understanding of how professional development programs can build on the strengths that teachers already have, and help teachers adopt more challenging learning progression-aligned knowledge and practices that will support students in developing the model-based reasoning reflected in the NGSS and needed for use of science to inform real world decision-making."