Biology reflective assessment curriculum
- Author(s): Bayley, Cheryl Ann
- et al.
Often students and educators view assessments as an obligation and finality for a unit. In the current climate of high-stakes testing and accountability, the balance of time, resources and emphasis on students' scores related to assessment have been slanted considerably toward the summative side. This tension between assessment for accountability and assessment to inform teaching strains instruction and educators' ability to use that information to design learning opportunities that help students develop deeper conceptual understanding. A substantive body of research indicates that formative and reflective assessment can significantly improve student learning. Biology Reflective Assessment Curriculum (BRAC) examines support provided for high school science students through assessment practices. This investigation incorporates the usage of reflective assessments as a guiding practice for differentiated instruction and student choice. Reflective assessment is a metacognitive strategy that promotes self- monitoring and evaluation. The goals of the curriculum are to promote self-efficacy and conceptual understanding in students learning biology through developing their metacognitive awareness. BRAC was implemented in a high school biology classroom. Data from assessments, metacognitive surveys, self-efficacy surveys, reflective journals, student work, a culminating task and field notes were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum. The results suggest that students who develop their metacognitive skills developed a deeper conceptual understanding and improved feelings of self-efficacy when they were engaged in a reflective assessment unit embedded with student choice. BRAC is a tool for teachers to use assessments to assist students in becoming metacognitive and to guide student choice in learning opportunities