Designing an assessment tool for historical literacy
the case of Copernicus
Nyckelord:HISTORICAL LITERACY, HISTORICAL THINKING, DESIGN-BASED RESEARCH ASSESSMENT, PRIMARY SCHOOL
This design-based research describes the development process of an assessment tool for historical literacy at primary school level where existing assessment materials are scarce. The assessment task was tested thrice during a two-year-period in Finland and Sweden. Sixty pupils participated in a pen-and- paper-test while seven took part in think-aloud interviews. The task included three written documents on the relationship between Nicolaus Copernicus and the Catholic Church. The length of the original documents was reduced and the language simplified age-appropriately. The results revealed a tendency to read the sources as information rather than as evidence. Also, the concept of reliability proved difficult. Alterations during the re-design phases included dividing broad questions into smaller entities and directing pupils ́ attention to the characteristics of source types. Many pupils responded to the weighted multiple- choice (WMC) items as if they were traditional multiple-choice questions: they chose the first correct sounding option without pondering over the others. However, one WMC item was particularly successful as all the think-aloud protocols showed that the item met its target construct. As a whole, the artefact did elicit historically literate observations among some pupils.