New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Strategies for the Assessment of Inquiry Learning in Science (SAILS)
A European Project in Science Teacher Education

Odilla Finlayson, CASTeL, Dublin City University (Ireland)

Eilish McLoughlin, CASTeL, Dublin City University (Ireland)

Deirdre McCabe, CASTeL, Dublin City University (Ireland)


The SAILS - Strategies for Assessment of Inquiry-based Learning in Science - project (2012-2015) [1] has been funded by EU 7th Framework Programme to support teachers in adopting inquiry-based science education (IBSE) at the secondary level. In particular, the SAILS project will develop appropriate strategies and frameworks for the assessment of IBSE skills and competences and prepare teachers not only to be able to teach through IBSE, but also to be confident and competent in the assessment of their students’ learning. The project consortium consists of thirteen partner organisations, including universities, small companies and a multi-national organisation, from across twelve European countries: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The SAILS project has three main objectives: (1) to enhance existing IBSE teaching and learning materials by incorporating inquiry assessment strategies and frameworks; (2) to partner with teachers to identify and implement assessment strategies and frameworks to evaluate key IBSE skills and competences in the classroom; and (3) to provide teacher education programmes in IBSE and promote a self-sustaining model to encourage teachers to share experiences and practice of inquiry approaches to teaching, learning and assessment - by supporting a community of practice. This paper will present examples of inquiry and assessment materials that have been developed by the SAILS consortium and discuss how these have been used to assess students’ skills in the classroom. An overview of case study reports written by participating teachers on their classroom experiences will be presented. These case studies (>80) have been collated across twenty scientific units and form an integral aspect of SAILS teacher education programmes. An overview of the programmes that have been developed and implemented, so as to be both culturally and educationally relevant across twelve countries will be given. The role and impact of the SAILS community of practice in supporting teacher development will also be discussed.


1SAILS Project,


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