Lab Work as a Diagnostic Tool

Students' Lab Work as a tool for Diagnosis and Assessment

Contact Person: Prof. Dr. David-S. Di Fuccia

funded by: Fund of the German Chemical Industry


The variability of teaching methods in school chemistry education increased considerably in the last years, aiming at developing cognitive skills of higher order like decision-making rather than making students memorize chemical facts. In spite of this the assessment tools used remain mostly the same: paper and pencil tests which often focus on encyclopaedic chemical knowledge. Thus there is a gap between the quality of teaching and the ways of testing. It therefore seems feasible to develop new assessment tools that focus on broader fields of competence. Lab activities offer possibilities for learning in important fields of competence and are of great importance in school chemistry teaching. The integration of typical, complex procedures of science such as finding a hypothesis, planning and conducting an experiment and interpreting data is the reason for promotion inquiry-based learning in science and should be an argument for using lab-work as assessment-instrument, too. Therefore, it is interesting how lab activities can be used as assessment-instrument in everyday chemistry lessons and which effects such a use will have.

To answer these questions teachers and chemistry educators collaboratively developed and tested different ways to use students’ lab work as assessment-instrument. A number of useful approaches, such as different types of modified experimental instructions, arose, that can easily be created based on existing teaching material. The ways, in which teachers can produce these instruments were collected, described and published nationally and internationally. Experiences with such assessment-instruments show that they provide teacher with important additional information and change the attitude of students and teachers towards experimenting.