Compendium of Research Instruments for STEM Education, PART II: Measuring Students' Content Knowledge, Reasoning Skills, and Psychological Attributes

Addendum added 2013

The original version of the compendium included instruments that were identified through a review of projects that were funded in the first five cohorts of the National Science Foundation’s Discovery Research K-12 (DR K-12) program. This revised version contains an Addendum that includes additional instruments that were identified in the review of the projects in the sixth DR K-12 cohort, which received funding in 2012. The two tables in the Addendum (beginning on p. 76) present similar information for the ten instruments as is presented for the original set of instruments included in the main body of this document. However, the information from the newly added instruments presented in the Addendum are not included in the body of this compendium, which remains substantively unchanged from the first release in August of 2012.

The DR-K12 program seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of STEM. The funded research projects focus on the “development, testing, deployment, effectiveness, and/or scale-up of innovative resources, models and tools” (NSF, 2011, p.2). As such, it is particularly important for the projects within this portfolio to use the soundest methods for testing the efficacy and ultimately effectiveness of the developed educational interventions. This compendium of measures is Part II of a two part series to provide insight into the measurement tools available to generate efficacy and effectiveness evidence, as well as understand processes relevant to teaching and learning. Part I looks at teacher outcome assessments, and Part II looks at student outcome assessments. In this compendium we focus on instruments designed to assess students’ STEM content knowledge, reasoning skills, and psychological attributes such as attitudes, beliefs, emotional regulation, motivation, and career identity/aspirations. This collection of instruments likely represents commonly used tools for gathering information about outcomes of educational innovations in the U.S. given that the DR-K12 portfolio is the nation’s largest STEM educational intervention research and development fiscal investment.

The purpose of this compendium is to provide an overview on the current status of STEM instrumentation commonly being used in the U.S and to provide resources useful to research and evaluation professionals. The information contained within is heavily dependent on information available on existing websites. For each instrument we provide information on the constructs/variables that are measured, the target audience of the instrument, the subject domains assessed, information on obtaining the instrument, and related documents about reliability and validity evidence when it could be located. While the information about reliability and validity evidence is provided, we highly recommend that anyone intending to use an instrument consult the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing published jointly by the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education (1999), to ensure proper deployment, piloting and evidence accumulation for a particular research or evaluation application and study population. These standards are in the process of being revised as of November 2012.