The relationship between self-assessment and constructing evidence-based explanations in a middle school science classroom
McCurdy, Dalton Cox
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This study investigated the link between formative assessments use and the ability to construct evidence-based arguments. Self-evaluation and other formative assessments were incorporated into daily lesson plans over a 4-week period to determine if these tools had a positive impact on writing outputs in 8th grade science. Prior to the intervention, a writing baseline was obtained by the use of an online writing prompt program as well as through teacher-graded rubric based assessments. The treatment was followed by a second round of benchmark testing using the WPP in congruence with teacher and student assessment rubrics. Data were also collected by means of student surveys and student interviews. All data were analyzed to determine whether there was a significant relationship between the use of student assessment tools and the ability to incorporate evidence-based explanations into formal and informal science writing assignments. Secondary research questions investigated if self-assessment use improved a students' self-awareness in regards to their content comprehension. Though results varied and a more thorough and extensive investigation would be necessary to pull out more specific trends, qualitative and quantitative data suggested that incorporating more self-assessments and formative assessments improved students' awareness in their writing outputs. It appeared that the more exposure students had to the process of persuasive writing, through exposure to writing samples and clear formulaic tools to assist in the process, the more comfortable students become in their abilities to construct these types of outputs.