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Introduction

In an attempt to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate their cumulative accomplishments in their science classes, an optional portfolio component is included in the Golden State Examinations in biology, chemistry, and second-year coordinated science. Scores given to the portfolios are combined with the multiple-choice component, open-ended and short answer extension questions, and the laboratory performance task to determine the performance level for a student. Performance levels can only be enhanced by the inclusion of portfolio scores. Students' performance levels can not be lowered by their portfolio score.

The GSE science portfolio is a selection of student work produced during a year of biology, chemistry, or second-year coordinated science. It allows students to present for evaluation a broader representation of their performance, exhibiting depth of conceptual and procedural knowledge through a variety of quality work. The portfolio is instructionally-embedded and includes the following entries: Problem-solving Investigation, Creative Expression, and Growth through Writing. The portfolio highlights students' demonstrated skills in thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving and is student selected to encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning. Important aspects of the GSE Science Portfolio are revision of work, personal and societal relevance, growth over time, collaboration, and connections among the various sciences as well as with other disciplines. An important goal of the GSE science portfolio is to improve student learning through the process of student self-evaluation. The portfolio is also designed to enhance:

  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Interdisciplinary learning
  • Conceptual understanding of science
  • Student responsibility for the learning process
  • Self esteem, and interactions among students, teachers, parents and administrators


In addition, the portfolio provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to:

  • Use an alternative assessment process
  • Continue development of concepts over an extended period of time
  • Share responsibility for learning, growth, and evaluation
  • Advance cooperative group work and the achievement of all students in a group
  • Develop self-evaluation skills
  • Improve student learning skills and promote higher levels of achievement
  • Reinforce interdisciplinary learning

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