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Abstract

This report sets out the procedures followed in developing a set of science items to test a variety of intellectual skills deemed important in secondary school science and then analyzing them in order to examine their construct validity in relation to a technique of evaluation which analyzes the way in which individuals structure their responses to previously learned material (Biggs & Collis, 1982). The items covered the four sciences commonly taught in Australian schools, Geology, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry. Each item followed the superitem format devised by Cureton (1965) and consisted of a stem followed by four questions. Each group of four questions was devised so that they formed a hierarchy of difficulty levels. Nineteen of the items finally accepted as meeting the initial criteria were arranged for group testing to enable a validation trial to be carried out. The analysis showed that the items had construct validity in terms of the theory and were viable for testing certain science skills at the High School level. Implications of the study point to a need for further investigations in both the curriculum and teaching areas of school science.