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New Partnership with UMaine Enhances GMRI Assessment

Jun 1, 2013
Summer 2013
While traditional science education focuses on memorization of facts and figures, modern goals center on the development of “science literacy”— a complex suite of critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and communication skills.In order to understand how successful our programs are at generating this type of learning, GMRI has partnered with a team of University of Maine learning researchers led by Jonathan Shemwell, Assistant Professor of Education.
“It takes innovative methods to measure the types of 21st century skills that have become recognized as the most valuable skills for students to develop,” Shemwell said. “Dealing with ill-defined problems, collaborating, reasoning with evidence — these skills are very difficult to measure with traditional tests.” 
Shemwell’s team is collecting audio and video recordings of LabVenture! to analyze how the program encourages and supports students to recognize and use evidence. In Vital Signs, they are collaborating with GMRI staff and teachers to develop a virtual investigation that measures students’ reasoning and collaboration skills.Findings from both efforts will be used to optimize GMRI’s programs and to advance educators’ understanding of how to best measure and support students’ development in these 
critical areas. 
“Innovative education requires innovative evaluation,” said Alan Lishness, GMRI Chief Innovation Officer. “We design our programs to develop science literacy. Through this partnership with the University of Maine, we gain the expertise to measure progress toward that goal.”