Examples of Assessment:

The following guidelines have been generated to help you to appreciate the power of assessment but also to adjust your expectations so that they are practical and realistic:

Identify what you want to assess

When faced with the challenge of assessing it is important to identify what is it that you are assessing, is it scientific content, or is it a skill that IBSE has enabled, or perhaps an attitude?

Once this is decided then identifying an opportunity and selecting an approachto carry out the assessment is clearer.

Specific assessment opportunities are identified within each of the units in the teacher information section.  Many of these opportunities involve reflective dialogues where students are encouraged to reflect on the meaning of their learning experience and then articulate it, be it as a self-assessment by writing in a journal or diary or with others, by engaging in discussions or debates.  The mode you choose to carry out the assessment should be appropriate for your teaching style.  These can be combined with other assessment techniques which perhaps focus on the determining the level of conceptual understanding.


This is more important than marks.  Here we refer to providing feedback to students on their progress, so the assessment is formative rather than summative.

Maintaining a safe classroom atmosphere

When carrying out these IBSE activities students may be fearful and uncomfortable due to the lack of familiarity both with the content and structure of the teaching and learning environment and so it is important that the classroom atmosphere is a safe place so as not to lose student engagement and motivation through fear of making mistakes.

Matching assessment to IBSE type

There are various levels of IBSE (spectrum of “guided – open”) and different students may be ready for different levels.  It is important that the assessment should also reflect this.

Progress steadily and incrementally

Move forward by small steps. While one “big revolution in implementing IBSE and its assessment” may sound good on paper, it is very difficult to sustain.  Try and master one thing at a time and then move on.

Define your criteria and standards for assessment: 

Identify concrete examples from which you can determine students’ progress in IBSE.  These should be rather small and simple examples of, e.g.:

  • Solving problems,
  • Forming (creating) hypotheses,
  • Questioning,

The examples should be discriminating so as to present both good and bad solutions, formulations of questions, results and their reasoning, etc.  The examples should be based on real students’ work, they should not be just artificially created. (Videos of real students’ reactions would be ideal, but it may be hard to obtain them.)

Self-Reflection Exercise

As a self-reflection exercise:

  • Select a unit and review the assessment section.
  • Compare your assessment with the assessment of experts (which would be also provided)

Examples of Assessment

Specific assessment opportunities within each of the units has been addressed in the Teacher Information section.  For example within the Blood Donation Unit, the activities are sequenced and linked so that the output from one activity is assessed in a subsequent activity with the result that the assessment is inherently built into the unit.

In particular the output of Activity 1.2 is a report created by a group of pupils which is used in subsequent activities Activity 1.5 “Scientific conference” and Activity 1.6 “Interview”.  Following the activities it is possible to discuss whether the reports produced contained all the important information, what their quality was and what they lacked.  In this way the students are involved in determining the assessment criteria for a good report.

Other activities that have been selected from the units as assessment opportunities include: