Skip to main content

Assessments of prior knowledge

Although not strictly process oriented, assessing students’ background knowledge is not only good teaching practice, it also helps to bolster claims about student learning. For example, collecting information about students prior knowledge around a science concept covered in your module may help you to identify moments of conceptual change during students’ learning process. You are then in a batter position to make inferences around the features of your learning module that may have been the catalyst for student conceptual change. Similarly, if you are interested in tracking student motivation and/or engagement, this sort of data provides an essential baseline comparison.

The following are useful methods for gathering information on students’ prior knowledge and motivation related to STEM fields: