National tests in Biology, Physics and Chemistry

National tests in Biology, Physics and Chemistry: their significance, if any, for teachers’ teaching and assessment.

National tests in biology, physics and chemistry are now introduced in year 9 in Swedish comprehensive school. The introduction of national tests is used in order to raise the standards, make more students reach the goals by strengthen the follow-up of student knowledge and at the same time create a more equal and fair assessment and grading of students. This is described as necessary since Swedish student?s results are cut back in national measurements and they achieve lower scores relatively to students in other comparable countries (eg. TIMSS).

In this project we will investigate if and in which way the introduction of national tests in science education influence teachers´ opinions of what is "good" education in science and how this effects teachers´ instruction and assessment of students. A survey identifying different teaching traditions among the Swedish science education teachers will be performed. Teachers from different teaching traditions will be interviewed and observed when teaching. Analyses will be made with the concept of ´curriculum emphases´ to identify what is considered important knowledge. Analyses of the actual national tests will also be carried out. The results will be discussed in relation to research on ´scientific literacy´. This project will make it possible to identify potential systematic differences in teachers´ opinions and practices between teachers belonging to different teaching traditions regarding the effects of national tests.