27 SES 13 B, Literacy and Didactics: Perspectives, Practices and Consequences I
All students in year nine in the Swedish compulsory school take a national test in biology, physics or chemistry. The ambition of these tests, which were given for the first time as late as spring 2009, is to measure the Swedish students’ knowledge in science, but also to provide an aid in teachers’ development of their teaching and to promote student learning. The purpose of this paper is to analyze and discuss what knowledge the national tests in biology, physics and chemistry measure – and what knowledge is not measured - what kind of scientific literacy is assessed by tests. The paper highlights similarities and differences between the three subject tests. The analysis shows that a student, to pass the tests, need to show evidence that she has two kinds of knowledge: (1) scientific knowledge (scientific concepts, models, methods) and (2) applied knowledge (in relation to mundane and technical problems). This also shows that knowledge about the use of science in relation to political and moral issues are not required to pass the tests. The paper discusses what the privileging of the scientific literacy measured can lead to in teachers’ planning of teaching and for students’ prerequisites for learning and socialization.
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