Means, B., & Haertel, G. (2001). Technology supports for assessing science inquiry. Paper commissioned by the National Academies, Board on Testing and Assessment. To appear in Proceedings of the Workshop on Technology and Assessment.
The National Science Education Standards (National Research Council [NRC], 1996) place inquiry, applied to scientific content areas, at the core of what it means to be scientifically literate: Inquiry is central to science learning. When engaging in inquiry, students
describe objects and events, ask questions, construct explanations, test those explanations against current scientific knowledge, and communicate their ideas to others. They identify their assumptions, use critical and logical thinking, and consider alternative explanations. In this way, students actively develop their understanding of science by combining scientific knowledge with reasoning and thinking skills. The Standards (NSES) characterize these aspects of science inquiry as a set of “abilities” that all students should exhibit.