Journal Menu
Submit Manuscript via ScholarOne

EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education
Volume 13, Issue 6 (June 2017), pp. 1765-1784

DOI: 10.12973/eurasia.2017.00697a

Downloaded 40 times.

Research Article

Published online on Apr 18, 2017

How to reference this article?


Practical Work Activities as a Method of Assessing Learning in Chemistry Teaching

Thomas D. T. Sedumedi


Practical work activities have been used for many purposes in science teaching. However, its use for assessment purposes has been limited. This study highlights the role of practical work activities in assessment. Practical work activities present various advantages as an assessment tool. Practical work activities allow the assessor access to a variety of knowledge types into a student’s knowledge base. That is, with practical work activities the student’s knowledge and skills may be assessed simultaneously. The study uses qualitative methods to ensure a broader and deeper understanding of the quality of knowledge structure and its functioning that individual students possess. The findings of the study demonstrate the extent with which knowledge and/or skills may be accessed using practical work activities. In addition, the findings illustrate through using practical work activities, the possibility of accessing and assessing different types of knowledge and their characteristics as possessed by each learner/student. With this capability in assessment, teachers are empowered to accurately and appropriately plan for future teaching and learning of concepts as they will be able to develop relevant teaching and learning materials for particular and different cohorts of students.

Keywords: practical work, concept possession, assessment for learning, knowledge structure

  1. Abrahams, I., & Reiss, M. (2012). “Practical Work: its effectiveness in primary and secondary schools in England.” Journal of Research in Science Teaching 49 (8), 1035-1055.
  2. Ackerson, V. L., Flick, L. B., & Lederman, N. G. (2000). The influence of primary children’s ideas in science on teaching practice. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37, 363–385.
  3. Alibali, M. W., Stephens, A. C., Brown, A. N., Kao, Y. S., & Nathan, M. J. (2014). Middle School Students’ Conceptual Understanding of Equations: Evidence from Writing Story Problems. International Journal of Educational Psychology, 3(3), 235-264.
  4. Attride-Sterling, J., (2001) Thematic Networks: an analytical tool for qualitative research. Qualitative Research, 1(3), pp. 385-405. Sage Publications, London. Supplied by the British Library.
  5. Ausubel, D.P. (1968). Educational Psychology: A Comparative Cognitive View. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
  6. Biggs, J. (2003). Teaching for Quality at University.
  7. Braun, V., & Clark, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology, Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101.
  8. Carless, D. (2007). Learning-oriented assessment. Conceptual bases and practical implications. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 44(1), 57-66.
  9. Clackson, S. G., & Wright, D. K. (1992). An appraisal of practical work in science education. School Science Review, 74(266), pp. 39–42.
  10. Cowie, B. (2005). Pupil commentary on assessment for learning. Curriculum Journal, 16(2), pp. 137–151.
  11. D’Mello, S., Lehman, B., Pekrun, R., & Graesser, A. (2014). Confusion can be beneficial for learning, Learning and Instruction, 29, 153-170.
  12. Dochy, J.R.C. (1992). Assessment of prior knowledge as a determinant of future learning. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  13. Doran, R., Lawrenz, F & Hegelson, S. (1994). Research on assessment in science. In D. Gabel (Ed.). Handbook of research on science teaching and learning. (pp. 388-442).
  14. Duschl, R.A., & Gitomer, D. H. (1997). Strategies and challenges to changing the focus of assessment and instruction in science classrooms. Educational Assessment, 4(1), pp. 37–73.
  15. Hampton, J.A., & Moss, H.E. 2003. Concepts and meaning: Introduction to the special issue on conceptual presentation, Language and Cognitive processes, 18, (5/6), 505-512.
  16. Hickey, D.T. (2015). A situative response to the conundrum of formative assessment. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 2(2), 202-223.
  17. Hodson, D. (1992). Assessment of practical work: Some considerations in philosophy of science, Science & Education (1), pp. 115-144.
  18. Hofstein, A., & Lunetta, V. (2004). ‘The laboratory in science education: Foundations for the twenty-first century’. Science Education, 88, pp.28-54.
  19. Jagodzinski, P., & Wolski, R. (2015). Assessment of Application Technology of Natural User Interfaces in the Creation of a Virtual Chemical Laboratory. J Sci Educ Technol, (24), 16–28. doi:10.1007/s10956-014-9517-5.
  20. Kaput, J. J., Blanton, M. L., & Moreno, L. (2008). Algebra from a symbolization point of view. In J. J. Kaput, D. W. Carraher, & M. L. Blanton (Eds.), Algebra in the early grades (pp. 19-55). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group.
  21. Lappi, O. (2012). ‘Qualitative, Quantitative and Experimental Concept Possession Criteria for Identifying Conceptual Change in Science Education’. Science and Education, DOI 10.1007/s11191-012-9459-3
  22. Leont’ev, A.N. (1982). Tätigkeit, Bewusstsein, Persönlichkeit, Studien zur Kritischen Psychlogie [Activity, Consciousness, Personality, Studies into Critical Psychology] Köln: Pahl-Rugenstein Verlag.
  23. Liu, C-J., Hou, I-L., Chiu, H-L, & Treagust, D.F. (2014). An exploration of secondary students’ mental states when learning about Acids and Bases, Res Sci Educ (44), pp.133–154
  24. Lunetta, V., & Tamir, P. (1979).  Matching lab activities with teaching goals, Science Teacher, 46(5), pp. 22-24.
  25. Lunetta, V., Hofstein, A., & Clough, M. (2007). Learning and teaching in the school science laboratory: An analysis of research, theory, and practice. In N. Lederman & S. Abel (Eds,), Handbook of research science education (pp. 393–441). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum
  26. Millar, R. (1998). Students’ understanding of procedures of scientific enquiry. In Tiberghien, A., Jossem, E.L., & Arojas, J. (Eds.). Connecting research in physics education with teacher education: An ICPE Book.,$.html.
  27. Millar, R., Le Mare´chal, J.-F., & Tiberghien, A. (1999). ‘Mapping’ the domain: Varieties of practical work. In J. Leach & A. Paulsen (Eds.), Practical work in science education—recent research studies, pp. 33–59. Roskilde/Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Roskilde University Press/Kluwer.
  28. Newton, P.E. (2007). Clarifying the purposes of educational assessment, Assessment in Education, 14(2), pp. 149–170
  29. Nickerson, R. S. (1985). Understanding understanding. American Journal of Education, 93(2), pp.201-239.
  30. Nicol, D. J. (1997) Research on learning and higher education teaching, UCoSDA Briefing Paper 45 (Sheffield, Universities and Colleges Staff Development Agency).
  31. Nicol, D.J., & Macfarlane‐Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self‐regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice, Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199-218. doi:10.1080/03075070600572090
  32. Peacocke, C. (1992). A Study of Concepts. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  33. Radford, L. (2013). Three Key Concepts of the Theory of Objectification: Knowledge, Knowing, and Learning, Journal of Research in Mathematics Education, 2(1), 7-44.
  34. Reif, F. (2008). Applying cognitive science to education: Thinking and learning in scientific and other domains. The MIT Press.
  35. Sadler, D. R. (1998). Formative assessment: Revisiting the territory. Assessment in Education, 5(1), 77–84.
  36. Sam, C. (2012). Activity Theory and qualitative Research in Digital Domains. Theory into Practice, 51(20), 83-90.
  37. Shute, V. J., Hansen, E. G., & Almond, R. G. (2008). You can’t fatten a hog by weighing it- or can you? Evaluating an assessment system for learning called ACED. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence Education 18, 289-316.
  38. Smith, E.L. (1991). A conceptual change model of learning science, In Glynn, S.M., Yeany, R.H. & Britton, B.K (Eds.). The psychology of learning science. London: Lawrence Associates Publishers.
  39. Tamir, P. (1996). Science assessment. In Bierenhaum (Eds.) Alternatives in assessment of achievements, learning, processes and prior knowledge. Kluwer Academic publishers.
  40. Watkins, D., Dahlin, B., & Ekholm, M (2005). Awareness of the backwash effect of assessment: A phenomenographic study of the views of Hong Kong and Swedish lecturers, Instructional Science, (33), pp.283-309
  41. Yin, Y., Tomita, M. K., & Shavelson, R. J. (2014). Using formal embedded formative assessments aligned with a short-term learning progression to promote conceptual change and achievement in science, International journal of Science Education, 36(4), 531-552.