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About ChemFacets

The goals of the Chemistry Facets project are (1) to identify and develop clusters of facets (student ideas and understandings) related to key high school chemistry concepts; (2) to develop assessment items that diagnose facets within each cluster; (3) to enhance the existing web-based Diagnoser assessment system for administering items, reporting results, and providing teacher resources for interpreting and using the assessment data; (4) to develop teacher professional development and resource materials to support their use of facet-based approaches in chemistry; and (5) to examine whether student learning and motivation to learn in chemistry improves for students in chemistry classes that incorporate a facet-based assessment system.

The facet-based approach to chemistry instruction links standards, curricula, and research in a meaningful way for teachers and students, and as result will support teachers in understanding their students’ conceptual strengths and weaknesses. The assessments will be available for free to teachers and students via a web-based assessment tool, Diagnoser, thus facilitating the dissemination of these important chemistry assessments and learning resources. Diagnoser will auto-score items and link student performance on items to preconceptions and goal understandings. Diagnoser also will incorporate the teacher resources with lessons to address preconceptions. As a result, teachers should be better equipped to tailor their teaching to support students’ learning in chemistry, and students can monitor their own understanding.

Anticipated sets of products include: (a) 16-20 facet clusters and up to 20 validated items per cluster; (b) teacher resources including elicitation questions and classroom activities related to each cluster, and a framework for professional development; and (c) a web-based Diagnoser for chemistry, including student assessments and teacher resource materials.

The evaluation plan consists of three components:

  1. a small-scale experimental study to examine the efficacy of the use of Diagnoser with high school chemistry students and teachers,
  2. an Advisory Board to monitor and assess the work, and
  3. an external evaluator, Heller Research Associates,
who will assess the facet and item development, as well as factors affecting implementation. Multiple forms of evidence will be used to demonstrate achievement of the project goals. Facet clusters will be validated with internal and external expert reviews and teacher and student interviews. Assessment items will be validated in multiple ways: science assessment expert alignments of items with standards, facet clusters, and established measures of chemistry knowledge; confirmatory factor analyses; and think-alouds with students.

ChemFacets Team

The ChemFacets project is lead by SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning (CTL), FACET Innovations, and Sonoma State University.  CTL focuses on significant issues in learning and teaching, and on the ways that innovative uses of technologies can help address those issues.

Principal Investigators: Angela Haydel DeBarger, Jim Minstrell, and Carlos Ayala

Project Evaluator: Joan Heller, Heller Research Associates

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