Gotwals, A., & Songer, N. (2006). Cognitive Predictions: BioKIDS Implementation of the PADI Assessment System (PADI Technical Report 10). Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.
Assessment is a key topic in the high-stakes, standards-driven educational system that is present today. However, many current assessments are not good measures of student understanding because they are based on outdated theories of how students learn and test only fact-based knowledge. In science, with the call for inquiry-based teaching and learning, we need measures that can gather information not just about science content knowledge, but also about inquiry skills and how science content and inquiry skills interact in students’ abilities to reason about complex scientific ideas. This report examines how, with PADI support structures, we developed an assessment system for the BioKIDS curricular program. The report specifically outlines the theories and beliefs of learning that underpin the system, describes tools that translate this cognitive framework into tasks that elicit observations of important student knowledge, and uses data to interpret whether the cognitive framework behind the suite of tasks is predictive of student knowledge.