Assessment for learning, also called formative assessment, is central to The Inquiry Project and provides the means to identify and chart the development of students' ideas and understandings as well as to identify obstacles they encounter in their learning.
As an integral part of the curriculum, assessment provides ongoing information about students' learning and helps to inform next steps in the learning. Assessment also informs the research, contributes to refining the curriculum, and serves as a focus for professional development.
- Students' progress in both science content and the inquiry process are assessed.
- Learning experiences themselves provide opportunities for assessment. The aim is to identify opportunities and provide criteria that help teachers and children themselves take stock of the learning as part of the curriculum.
- Assessments involve students as partners in their intellectual development by creating a clear vision of what is to be learned, sharing criteria used to judge progress, and providing ways for students to monitor, and reflect on changes in their understanding.
Concept Cartoons developed for the Inquiry Project curricula probe students' ideas about key science concepts.
A Framework for formative assessment in the Inquiry Project is based on the work of science educator Wynne Harlen.