The folks at NAEP released results of a new assessment they did with science students in grades 4, 8 and 12. In addition to the good ol test on paper, students also conducted either hands-on experiments or interactive computer-based experiments. Results showed that students could conduct the experiments, but struggled to explain what they did. The main points NAEP highlighted about the results were:
Students were successful on parts of investigations that involved limited sets of data and making straightforward observations of
Students were challenged by parts of investigations that contained more variables to manipulate or involved strategic decision making to collect appropriate data.
The percentage of students who could select correct conclusions from an investigation was higher than for those students who could select correct conclusions and also explain their results.