Assessment Framework Science

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How to look at assessments in science

Teaching learning and assessment go hand in hand. How to assess, what methods to be used for assessment and why assess at all are dependent on the context of the teaching learning process and how the teacher and learners are situated. Subseqent to the revision of the Karnataka textbooks for science, there has been a lot of discussion on how to tranasact using the new textbook and how to assess for learning. The department has further made it compulsory to have Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) for classes 8 and 9. Teachers and been debating about constructive teaching - learning practices and how to practice CCE.
During the worshops for the creation of KOER and the STF training on KOER, teachers attempted to develop a framework for assessment for science and this is a documentation of the discussions and the proposed framework.

Please review this and submit your comments.


The discussion was structured along 4 strands:

  1. What are the objectives of science teaching?
  2. Given these objectives what are the elements to assess?
  3. What are the methods of assessment available and what do these assess?
  4. Structuring a model lesson with ideas of assessment

Why assess?


The first question is of course to understand why we need to assess. Assessments are needed for us to understand the child and the learning processes and progress of the child as well as a group of children. Assessments help the teacher in evaluating the teaching learning processes and allow for changes. In addition, assessments also help in tracking and reporting on the progress of the learner.

Objectives of Science Teaching


Science as we have come to understand in school largely relates to the facts and explanations of everyday life. In addition to this, there is a need to examine what constitutes science as a process, the discipline of doing science. Besides, science also is a social enterprise and science teaching must reflect this as well. So the objectives of science teaching in school can be classified broadly into three strands -

  1. that of knowing about science,
  2. the process of doing science and
  3. the social aspects of science as a discipline. These strands are all related to each other.

To be able to achieve these, science teaching in schools must allow students and build skills in students for them to be able to

  1. observe and understand phenomena and explain and propose solutions
  2. explore, think creatively and engage with problems around us with a questioning mind, with a scientific temper and make rational decisions
  3. understand, appreciate the nature around and work to conserve nature
  4. apply their knowledge to problems and challenges of everyday life and build solutions through systematic thinking and effort
  5. think innovatively and engage in reseearch
  6. build their skills and lead a productive and healthy life

In addition science teaching in schools must address the problems of social equity and not continue dominance of one form of knowledge or representation. School science must allow room for inclusion of indigeneous knowledge systems and allow learners to move from known phenomena to abstract explanations.

What to assess in science

To evaluate the learning process and progress in science, the assessments must be designed to evaluate the following:
i. Methods of doing science. The process of doing science involves observing, setting up experiments for observing, data collection, handling equipments, specimens, recording, organizing, comparing and classifying and presentation, besides being able to work collaboratively.
ii. Content knowledge. Learning science requires the learners to gain mastery over content knowledge and students must be able to understand the world around and explain phenomena, analyze infer and draw conclusions.

Often the assessments are limited only to the content knowledge, specifically to the transmission of the content knowledge. The skills of making meaning, analyzing and concluding are not tested in the usual summative assessment processes. The process skills of doing science are often not assessed at all. If these have to be assessed in science, the methods of teaching learning processes have to change to design learning experiences that can build process skills and knowledge.


Teaching learning processes must be redesigned to test the knowledge, skills and conceptual abilities of the learners. Observing the children during the various processes of learning allows the teacher to gauge their interest, attention, involvement, perspective, curiosity, peer interactions, social awareness, how they apply knowledge, their activities, how they work and how they ask questions. These are valuable to the teacher in assessing the progress of each child, what support can be provided for groups of children and what corrections are needed to be made.

Methods of assessment in science


In addition to the chalk and talk, several activities and projects can be taken up for science teaching learning. Some of these processes are summarized in the table below.

Activity What does it assess?
Formal and informal experimentation
  • Handling equipments and materials
  • Data collection, recording, inferences and represention
Seminars and presentation
  • Research to develop multiple perspectives
  • Multiple ways of thinking, represention and expression using appropriate vocabulary
Projects and case studies Skills of analysis, data collection and information gathering, analysis, interpretatiom, expression and presentation
Specimen and data collection Skill of handling materials, handling, protecting, preserving, labeling, classifying, data handling and analysis
Field work Safety, handling, observing, group interactions, data collection, observation, presentation, asking questions, appreciation, conservation, multiple perspectives, interacting with society
Interviewing and data collection
  • Structuring questions
  • Interacting with people
  • Methods of data collection
Lessons using audio and video Listening, analysis, discussions, group work
Student presentations, debates and discussions Conceptual understanding, data collection, presentation, written and oral skills, expression using appropriate vocabulary, comparison, confidence, peer review process, process of handling differences and opinions

Demonstration using a topic

What are the learning outcomes we expect when teaching light?

The doing of science

  1. Understanding vision and light
  2. Combining colours to form light
  3. Mixing colour pigment to form colours
  4. Observing and recording observations
  5. Be able to categorize events/occurrences/ applications based on reflection and refraction
  6. Changing the focal length of the lens by changing the shape
  7. How can construct appliances using a mirror - Working of a periscope, rear view mirrors
  8. Drawing diagrams to represent transmission of light
  9. Formal Experimentation - skill of setting up an experiment, observation and recording
  10. Able to study optics

The knowledge of science

  1. White light is a combination of all colours. Different colour lights can be produced from this by absorption and by reflection. The colours of the rainbow spectrum
  2. Objects that are black do not reflect any light but absorb all the energy.
  3. Learn about the various parts of the eye and a basic idea about how the eye-brain system creates a sense of vision.
  4. Learn about the different kinds of defects of the eye.
  5. Shadow formation and eclipse
  6. What are the differences between image formation in a plane mirror and spherical mirror?
  7. Laws of reflection for plane mirror and spherical mirror
  8. Shadow formation and eclipse
  9. Refraction of light
  10. Be able to solve simple numerical problems
  11. How do fibre optic cables work?
  12. Polarized light

To achieve these outcomes, the following activities can be planned


How to do activity based teaching for CCE

The text books are revised on the basis of National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005 at all levels in India. The NCF has prepared five guiding principles for curriculum development:

  1. connecting knowledge to life outside the school
  2. ensuring that learning shifts away from rote methods;
  3. enriching the curriculum so that it goes beyond textbooks;
  4. making examinations more flexible and integrating them with classroom life;
  5. and nurturing an overriding identity informed by caring concerns within the democratic polity of the country.

NCF 2005 Science Position paper emphasizes on activity -based teaching, Inquiry -based approach, Learning by doing, Project-work, Research , field visits and experiments which helps in experiential learning. Often however there remains a gap between the generally agreed objectives of the curriculum and their actual translation into textbooks and teaching practices.This resource material is an attempt to close this gap as much as possible. Extra knowledge and abstract ideas are focussed along with innovative and child- centered activities.

How can teacher use it? This note is written to accompany the resource material on Classification of Living Organisms

The teachers of any class can go through this resource on Organisms. The students are learning about various organisms from lower classes only. As they proceed to higher classes, the subject content is more deeper and comprehensive. If teacher clicks on the web link given, he/she can collect extra information of his/her desired sub themes of the topic- organisms. This helps in building content knowledge. For each sub theme, many variety of activities (online and offline) are framed. These teaching methodologies help in enhanced learning among students. The teachers also has to prepare for the lessons, activities and for structuring evaluation processes.

Preparation for teachers

Teachers need to prepare at multiple levels for teaching any content. This will include identifying learning objectives, detailing methods of the activity/ lesson and structuring evaluation processes. Teachers have to take trouble of planning the teaching -learning process earlier to the class- room transaction and keep the materials ready for teaching before hand. There are also activities for continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) which guide teachers to assess the students . There are several components to evaluation also - evaluation for a lesson or experience, evaluation of student understanding of the topic and self evaluation for the teachers. Before we get into evaluation, it may be useful to look at some guidelines for teachers while planning a class or an activity.

Planning an activity

  1. Identify - What are the learning objectives to be met using the activity.
  2. Try out each activity for yourself beforehand. Check the working of audio-video aids.
  3. Spend some time in the previous lesson explaining what the students are going to do and what material they might need to bring

from home.

  1. Plan how the class will be organised - at their seats or working in groups; inside or outside the classroom.
  2. Before starting on the activity make sure all the students understand what they will be doing, and why. Give the students time

to ask questions.

  1. (For outdoor activities) Before going outside, explain what the students will do outside,where they should and should not go, and

when they should return.

  1. Let students work independently as much as possible, while you concentrate your attention on the slower students or those who need


  1. Keep to certain routines in the classroom so that students know what kinds of things they are expected to do. For example, set up a

system whereby students clean up the place after the activity.

Evaluation format

The following is one suggested format for evaluation. Based on the unit, class and activities, teachers can design evaluation formats based on these principles.

Parameters for evaluation

There are several parameters for evaluation including participation in the lesson, understanding of concept and content and the development of skills. The following are some of the pointers that teachers can use for evaluation.

  1. Observation (Ob) : Teachers should observe the student's participation and involvement in classroom and outdoor activities. That is enthusiasm in doing activities, patience and concentration of the students. And grade can be given.
  2. Understanding of the concept can be measured by- a) Oral work (Or) – Answering to questions and asking questions to other students or to the teacher. This can be through discussion or explanation. b) Written work (Wr) : Clarity in reporting observation of activities , project work, discussions, assignment etc. The written work can be extended to include non-textual work and this can include ICTs.
  3. Designing Skills (DS) : Assessment of design skills should include both the ‘planning’ and the ‘doing’ parts of manual activities. These activities include drawing, handling plants and animals as well as tools and equipment, seeing the connection between a material and its uses, constructing, measuring and plotting graphs and charts.
  4. Independent Thinking (IT) : Is the student able to extend the learning and come up with original ideas?
  5. Co-operation with other students(Co) Able to consider the ideas of other students and to work in a group.
  6. Completion of home assignments (HA) – Is the student able to complete home assignments on time.

Teachers might give grades of A, B, C, D, or E for each assessment box in the Unit,according to the activities done. and then calculate the average for each category. To calculate the average, the number equivalent of the grades can be used (A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, E = 0). Write this grade in the box for the category on that page.• After completion of the Unit find the average score on each category over the whole Unit. Write this score in the Unit Assessment Sheet. The grades on all the categories in the four Units can be averaged to give a final grade for the year.

==== Activity  Assessment  Sheet ====

This section is not completed. Please help complete it.


Name of Activity













Characteristics of Living Organisms.(Gp.Work)








4+2+3+2+2+4+4 =17

17/ 7=2.42


Total Grades


This guideline is for assessment of activities done during teaching-learning process . (Ref. Small Science – A Series of Primary Science Class 4 Teacher's Book Dev. By Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education) . It helps in continuous and comprehensive Evaluation as per NCF 2005 and also for unit test where both practical and theory tests are considered. (NCF2005 recommends practical exam at secondary school level also).

Question Papers in Science

Please click herefor science question papers.

Use of ICT in evaluation