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Title: Transforming knowledge and learning through technologies and modalities: New forms of assessment
Contributor(s): Van Rooy, Wilhlemina (author); Chan, Eveline  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2009
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Abstract: Scientific knowledge and the ways in which it is represented and communicated in its rapidly growing sub-disciplines are highly dependent on visualisations of complex phenomena, very often derived from computer-generated models and combined with high-speed computational power in outputting new information. The impact of digital technologies on transforming knowledge and its representation in the New Life Sciences is one such example, which has had an impact on how Biology is taught in classrooms today. For example, in the NSW Stage 6 Biology syllabus, aspects of molecular biology, bioinformatics and biotechnology are evident in the topics that cover DNA structure and function, genetic variation, and reproductive technologies in the core unit, 'The Blueprint of Life'. The ways in which teachers access this knowledge and communicate it in classrooms, as is demonstrated by the other papers in this symposium, have been transformed by the information and communication technologies that have played a major role in the emergence of this new meta-discipline we describe as the 'New Life Sciences'. While teachers and what gets taught in classrooms have been observed to be relatively responsive to shifts in disciplinary knowledge and practices, formal assessment structures in schools are often lagging in this respect. In NSW, at least, the paper-based tests which dominate formal examinations in senior science are heavily reliant on written responses to static, print-based representations which are predominantly coded in verbal text. New ways of representing and communicating scientific concepts in classroom practice necessitates new forms of assessment which may be used to evaluate student competencies across the range of modalities and multiple representations that students are now expected to be conversant with in becoming scientifically literate. This paper examines an example of how one NSW school participating in the ARC Discovery Project has begun taking a more innovative approach to assessment in Biology, by implementing multimodal assessment formats as part of the school's science program. We include in this presentation an analysis of data which exemplifies current practice, teacher comments on assessment from interview data and video documentation of viva voce student assessments. We consider the potential and limitations of current test constructs and assessment practices in senior Biology and raise some issues in relation to whether existing assessment structures are sustainable in the climate of rapidly shifting representations of knowledge.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Details: AARE 2008: International Education Research Conference, Brisbane, Australia, 30th November - 4th December, 2008
Source of Publication: AARE Conference Papers, v.2008, p. 1-23
Publisher: Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
Place of Publication: Melbourne, Australia
ISSN: 1324-9339
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
130303 Education Assessment and Evaluation
130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 930203 Teaching and Instruction Technologies
930301 Assessment and Evaluation of Curriculum
930302 Syllabus and Curriculum Development
HERDC Category Description: E2 Non-Refereed Scholarly Conference Publication
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School of Education

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