Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hands-On and Interactive Computer Tasks in Science

As part of the 2009 science assessment, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) administered two types of innovative science tasks that invited students to put their science knowledge into practice: Hands-on Tasks (HOTs) and Interactive Computer Tasks (ICTs). These tasks were administered to students at grades 4, 8, and 12 nationally. The report Science in Action: Hands-On and Interactive Computer Tasks From the 2009 NAEP Science Assessment at Grades 4, 8, and 12 presents the findings from this special probe assessment.

In addition, three of the HOTs and all nine of the ICTs administered as part of the assessment have been released on the Nation’s Report Card website. Try the tasks for yourself and view data about student performance on each of the tasks.

Key findings from Science in Action include:

• Students were successful when investigations involved limited sets of data and making straightforward observations about the data.

• Students were challenged when investigations contained more variables or involved strategic decision making to collect appropriate data.

• Students successful at selecting conclusions were often less successful when asked to explain the results.

• While there was no gender gap in performance on the ICTs, female students scored higher than their male peers on the HOTs.

• At grades 4 and 12, Hispanic students scored higher than their Black peers on both the HOTs and the ICTs.

• Approximately 92 percent of fourth-graders and 98 percent of eighth-graders had teachers who reported doing hands-on activities with students at least monthly.