A Project Calibrate approach to summative assessment of practical science
Many school practical activities focus on scientific methods such as hypothesis testing. Yet science is more than hypothesis testing: it includes other methods. This article presents a framework called ‘Brandon’s Matrix’ that illustrates the diversity of scientific methods. The matrix has been used as part of Project Calibrate based at the University of Oxford. The project is investigating new frameworks for summative assessment of practical science at GCSE level (ages 14–16). A key feature of the project is bringing together hands-on and minds-on approaches in order to make practical work meaningful for pupils. Science education and assessment researchers are collaborating with examiners and teachers to develop and trial ‘tests worth teaching to’. The article illustrates examples of summative assessments.