Title: Toward Interdisciplinary Science Learning: Development of an Assessment for Interdisciplinary Understanding of ‘Carbon Cycling’
Abstract: This study developed and validated an assessment that measures interdisciplinary understanding for the topic of carbon cycling, the Interdisciplinary Science Assessment for Carbon Cycling (ISACC). This work was motivated by recognition of assessment as “the ‘black hole’ of interdisciplinary education” in K-16 science education (Boix Mansilla, 2005, p. 18). The study followed the construct-modeling design process (Wilson, 2005). A construct map for interdisciplinary understanding of carbon cycling was developed. Nine different subtopics within carbon cycling were determined based on content experts’ concept maps and analyses of performance expectation on disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) in the Next Generation Science Standards. Initial items were reviewed by nine content experts and piloted with 37 students to establish content validity. Through the item revision process, a final version of the ISACC included 11 multiple-choice (MC) items and eight constructed response (CR) items. 454 students were recruited and administered the ISACC through the Qualtrics online environment. For the CR items scoring rubrics were developed and used to code student responses by a group of evaluators. Agreement between coders was greater than 90%, and analysis of scores indicated excellent inter-rater reliability. Item Response Theory (IRT) models, a two Parameter Logistic Model and a Generalized Partial Credit Model, provided evidence of the construct validity of the assessment items. All items reflected unidimensional construct and local independency. All except one item were a good fit to the models. The 19 items showed modest internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.782). The findings suggest that the ISACC is a promising and valid tool to assess interdisciplinary understanding in learning carbon cycling but further revision to strengthen the psychometric properties is needed.
Bio: Hye Sun You received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in STEM education, her master's degree in science education and bachelor's degree in chemistry from Yonsei University. Prior to entering academia, She spent several years teaching middle school science. Her research interests center upon interdisciplinary learning and teaching in STEM education. She is especially interested in developing an assessment instrument to measure students’ interdisciplinary understanding and leading to interdisciplinary-oriented teaching practices. In her dissertation work, she developed and validated a new interdisciplinary assessment in the context of carbon cycling for high school and college students using item response theory. Currently, a primary role of her work is to evaluate robot-embedded professional development program to guide the development of new lessons and instructional practices.