The ASSIST-ME project focuses on formative and summative assessment of inquiry-based education (IBE) in science, technology, and mathematics (STM). This report summarizes definitions of IBE as well as certain competences which are related to IBE. In view of the planed assessment, some of these competences have to be picked out because there are so many. Up to now, many studies only focus on ‘inquiry’ as a ‘black box’ or on single aspects of IBE (Bernholt, Rönnebeck, Ropohl, Köller, & Parchmann, 2013). Therefore, some competences should be assessed together in order to empha-size the procedural character of IBE.
When talking about ‘inquiry’ one has to distinguish between different perspectives. In science education, the term itself has four different meanings, summarized by Furtak, Shavelson, Shemwell, and Figueroa (2012):
1) scientific ways of knowing (i.e., the work that scientists do),
2) a way for students to learn science,
3) an instructional approach, and
4) curriculum materials.
Besides, the term ‘inquiry’ has a subject specific meaning. In science and technology there are several publications explicitly referring to ‘inquiry’ as a learning and teaching approach whereas in mathematics ‘inquiry’ is not a common term and approach:
Science. Within the last twenty years, scientific inquiry became a popular learning and teaching approach introduced by the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996). Most publications in this research field refer to the definition of Linn, Davis, and Bell (2004) who describe inquiry as a process of nine steps starting with the diagnose of problems and ending with the forming of coherent arguments.
Technology. The steps of inquiry in engineering design are quite similar to the steps in scientific inquiry. But the steps have different meanings because the starting point of the inquiry process is another. In engineering design the process also starts with the diagnosis of problems. However, these problems are meant as certain needs which have to be considered when constructing prototypes of certain objects.
Mathematics. Instead of inquiry, a common research field in mathematics education is problem-solving. Inquiry and problem-solving share some aspects, but there are of course differences. One major difference to scientific inquiry lies in the solution, “which is presented as a deduction from what was given in the problem to what was to be found or proved” (Schoenfeld & Kilpatrick, 2013).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKiel
PublisherIPN - Leibniz-Institut für die Pädagogik der Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik
EditionDeliverable 2.5
Number of pages60
Publication statusPublished - 2013
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