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Article Title

PAT Science : getting good assessment down pat

Abstract

A new school assessment resource in science from the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) has just been launched, following more than two years of development and trial testing. Called PAT Science, the new addition to the Progressive Achievement Tests series complements PAT Reading and PAT Maths, which are now widely used in Australian schools. PAT Science fills an identified need for better classroom information about the progress students make in their science learning between Year 3 and Year 10. By the time they reach 15 years of age, 13 percent of Australian students are classified as 'at risk' of not having the basic levels of scientific understanding required to function in adult society, according to PISA 2006. Australia also has fewer high-achieving students than many other countries in our region, according to TIMSS 2007. PAT Science provides teachers and schools with information about students' levels of achievement of the concepts, skills and processes of science and a basis for monitoring individual progress. There are eight science tests of increasing difficulty for use in Years 3 to 10 and the tests have no common items. Each test is appropriate for and normed on, two or three year levels. Although the first edition of PAT Science predates the introduction of the national curriculum, it has been informed by the National Curriculum Board's 2008 'National Science Curriculum Framing Paper'. [Author abstract, ed]

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