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Title: The effectiveness of physics lab reports and practical tests as assessment tools of practical skills
Authors: Cini, Rodrick
Musumeci, Martin
Keywords: Physics -- Study and teaching
Physics -- Examinations
Physics -- Studies and exercises
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Filodiritto Editore
Citation: Cini, R., & Musumeci, M. (2021). The effectiveness of physics lab reports and practical tests as assessment tools of practical skills. New Perspectives in Science Education Conference 9th Edition, Florence.
Abstract: In Malta, at Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) level – equivalent to the British GCSE – candidates’ practical skills in Physics are assessed through written laboratory reports. Despite criticism of this assessment mode by researchers, research studies into other assessment modes for reliable feedback on practical skills are non-existent. This study investigates the appropriateness of the assessment of practical skills through the current mode, and whether practical tests can be better assessment tools for such skills. The qualitative approach adopted was ethnographic and was carried out with two groups of Physics students: one group exposed to practical tests and written laboratory reports, and the other group presenting laboratory reports only. All 36 students underwent a practical exam at the end of the scholastic year, during which they used the think -aloud method; they were video-recorded. Data collection included students’ written documents, verbal and non-verbal communication, for triangulation of data. This study showed that assessment based solely on lab reports does not give suitable feedback on students’ practical skills. It was concluded that practical tests should accompany, and not replace, the assessment of lab reports for more reliable information about students’ practical skills. The feedback regarding practical skills elicited from the students’ written work was shown to be limited on its own.
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacEduMSE

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