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Formative Assessment to Improve
Student Understanding in Chemistry
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What is ChemFacets?

The Chemistry Facets project is developing formative assessments to support teachers in understanding and addressing their students’ conceptual strengths and weaknesses and to promote high school students’ conceptual change in chemistry. The project brings together experts in assessment, science education, chemistry teaching, and chemistry content from SRI International, FACET Innovations, and Sonoma State University.

The Chemistry Facets project is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant DRL-0733169.

Facets-of-Thinking Perspective

Facets are ideas constructed from pieces of domain knowledge and reasoning expressed by students in the classroom or other learning and educational settings.  Many students’ initial understandings of scientific concepts, although incorrect, contain positive aspects. Consequently, we use the term “facets of thinking” to avoid the negative connotation associated with the term “misconception.” The facets-of-thinking approach to assessment design is: based on research on students’ understanding and reasoning; includes explicit learning goals; builds from the intuitive ideas of students toward the targets of learning; takes into account various sorts of reasoning, conceptual, and procedural difficulties; and is intended to be understandable to researchers, discipline experts, and teachers.

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