For assessment, both IBSE-steps and content knowledge on structure-property-relations should be taken into consideration.
The students’ understanding of important IBSE steps in scientific and in industrial engineering processes can be assessed during the units in a formative way.
The usual approach is to assess the protocols the students often have to write following an experimental investigation. Making use of modern techniques, an alternative and probably more stimulating method would be a student’s documentation by taking photos or producing a little film about an experiment. The latter can include the macroscopic level as well as the sub-microscopic level.
A comparison of an IBSE process carried out to investigate the properties of a detergent (= a scientific approach) and the optimization of a detergent (= an engineering approach) can help to find out how much the students have actually understood about the nature of science.
Empirical studies show, for example, that students seem to have difficulties with the formulation and functionality of hypotheses in processes or seem to regard all experiments as approaches to optimise something, not to derive knowledge.
To test content-knowledge, tests should combine basic tasks with context related tasks to assess the students’ abilities on application and transfer as well. Again, formative assessment should be integrated as well.