New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Question-generating: Creative Formative Assessment for Metacognition

John Oversby, Science Education Futures (United Kingdom)

Jude Sanders, Hibernia College, Dublin (Ireland)


Here we describe an unusual and versatile formative assessment procedure that provides a wealth of insight into thinking. It has been trialled with secondary students of science in the UK, and with STEM teacher educators in Uruguay.

We design a part of a teacher answer, within a specific context, and require participants to create as many questions that could have been asked. As a second stage, we collect the questions, and challenge the participants to rank them in order of content knowledge and/or process knowledge demonstrated. One example of a part answer was: because stars give out their own light. Responses included: a) why is the sun a star? b) how can we count stars? c) what is a star made of? The range of responses to well-developed part answers provides deep insight into participant understanding.

Generally, we have discovered that teacher participants provide only a few questions, whereas younger participants provide many.

The paper will provide many validated answers in STEM for secondary participanst, and for teachers. We will also describe a session with Uruguayan STEM teacher trainers learning to use this unusual method in their prorammes.



[1] White RT & Gunstone R “Probing Understanding Chapter 10 Question Production”  Routledge 1992 Abingdon, Oxford, UK pp158-176.


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