Dimension 5: Motivation


In our competency model, we define motivation as the values, interest, and student engagement engendered by an assessment context; in other words, do students see the context created by the scenario in the task of interest as relevant to their own lives such that they want to engage in the problem put forth by the scenario and try to solve the problem. If a student is weakly motivated in an assessment, that student may not perform well on the task, and that may lead to an inaccurate measurement of what the student knows and can do. For example, designing an authentic and meaningful scenario context is essential to engaging students in applying scientific knowledge to explain scientific events related to their daily life. Another strategy to increase students’ motivation in taking an assessment is to provide immediate feedback (Blumenfeld, Kempler, & Krajcik, 2006). It is important to provide feedback that can help students realize what knowledge they have mastered and what knowledge they need to master or construct to be able to complete the task. In other words, the feedback should be task-oriented rather than person-oriented. In addition, new interactive technologies provide opportunities to actively involve students in problem solving by doing science (e.g., designing and conducting experiments). Such interactive features in science assessment can also help to maintain students’ motivation during the task.


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