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Abstract

I profile here a prospective method for assessing nature of science (NOS) knowledge, as an alternative to VNOS and similar approaches. Questions about cases in contemporary news and from history probe scientific literacy in context. Scoring targets how “well informed” the analysis is, based on identifying relevant NOS information and interpreting its import appropriately. The assessment shifts focus from declarative statements to functional (or interpretive) analysis. It also entails reframing current NOS characterizations from selective lists of tenets to the multiple dimensions shaping reliability in scientific practice, from the experimental to the social—namely, to Whole Science. This approach underscores the role of reflective student inquiry and historical and contemporary cases in NOS instruction. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed95: 518–542, 2011