Designs For Assessing Foundational Data Literacy


Zalles, D. (2005). Designs for assessing foundational data literacy. Available online at On the Cutting Edge: Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty Web site:


Geoscience education could benefit from assessment instruments that validly and reliably assess students’ foundational data literacy skills (e.g., sample size, sample selection, database structure, data distribution, central tendency, natural variability, measurement error), using appropriate item formats that provide valid and reliable evidence of different levels of skill and understanding. When geoscience educators engage students in investigating real data sets in pursuit of geoscience content objectives, lack of these fundamental skills and understandings can hinder the students’ abilities to complete the geoscience tasks successfully. Conversely, data literacy problems can hide and hinder the demonstration of geoscience content understanding, leading to erroneous diagnoses of the causes of student problems when asked to carry out data-immersive geoscience tasks.

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