Assessment in STEM education events for Flanders Stakeholders & Principals

In February 2014 special events for stakeholders and principals were organised in Gent and Blankenberge in Belgium by Dr. Wim Peeters, Coordinator FP7 Secure Project and STEM Pedagogic Coach in Flanders, Belgium.

On 19 February a round table was organised in Ghent with 25 invited participants from across the Flanders region who are key stakeholders in STEM education. The group included policy advisors from the Ministry of Education, University Lecturers, University College Lecturers and Pedagogic Coaches.

Over the following two days on 20-21 February, a conference was held in in Blankenberge specifically targeted at Secondary Level Principals and Deputy Principals. The chosen conference theme this year was 'Assessment' and therefore the FP7 framework projects SAILS and ASSIST-ME were invited to present their projects, as both are concerned with Assessment within an Inquiry Based Science Learning approach. A group of 12 Principals participated in the two-hour workshop which was presented as an interactive discussion with overview presentations from the two science education projects.

During the two events Dr. Eilish McLoughlin presented the work of the SAILS project - Strategies for Assessment of Inquiry Learning in Science, giving an overview of the partners and the focus of SAILS objectives. Eilish discussed the SAILS approach for the development of an operational framework for the assessment of skills and competencies that can be developed by inquiry and shared the structure for the development of SAILS units. Participants were interested in opportunities from the project for their teachers to engage in teacher education programmes in Inquiry and Assessment and in having them trial some of the units in the classroom and contribute to unit case studies. The group of Principals was very interested in the examples of units, assessment items, criteria and student work presented and they requested access to more of these for their Science Teachers.

Dr. Jens Dolin, Coordinator of the FP7 funded research project ASSIST-ME (Assess Inquiry in Science, Technology and Mathematics Education (IBSTME)) project presented their approach to establish a common European understanding of IBSTME closely linked to competences (professional, generative) and to formative and summative assessment. Their project is focussed on the development of innovative assessment forms adaptable to different educational cultures ' a proof of practicability research and implementation which is carried out in close collaboration between researchers, teachers and policy makers. More information is available athttp://assistme.ku.dk/

For information on the SAILS projecthttp://www.sails-project.eu/portal