National tests in science in grade six - student stories about their concern for the test questions
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
The aim of the paper is to investigate students’ concern for the national test in science as an effect of changes in the education system toward a stronger state interest in knowledge measurement in a decentralized and competitive school system. Our research questions are: What are students’ experiences of national tests in science? How do the students conceptualize the test questions? This paper focuses on elementary students’ experiences of assessment against the backdrop of the now extensive practice of national testing in the sixth grade of Swedish schools. The students were interviewed in a group of students (n. 2-5) a few days after the national test. They were asked to refer to their feelings about performing the test (e.g. Can you tell us what it was like to take a national test?) and about their strategies to answer the questions (e.g. Can you tell us about your experiences about the test questions?). All interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. We listened to the interviews and read the transcripts and conducted an analysis of narratives of students’ stories about their experiences of the national test. The students tell about a great concern for the national tests in science and how important the national tests are for their grades. They tell stories about limited possibilities to prepare before the test. They also talk about questions that do not challenge their knowledge, as well as questions that are difficult to conceptualize. From a student perspective, some questions are impossible to answer because they are “dealing with the wrong stuff” since the science content in the test questions do not always reflect the content of the science teaching in school. It is evident in our data that the now extended practice of assessment is in a process of taking shape. The national tests do not just create opportunities for students to improve their grades, but they also limit students’ opportunities to participate in a science practice.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
national tests, assessment, science education
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-115729OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-115729DiVA: diva2:796161
NERA 2015 the 43rd Annual Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association, 4-6 March 2015.