Science Fair Poster Assessment

Description of Science Fair Poster Assessment. Students’ initial knowledge of various aspects of experiment-based science inquiry is assessed in this activity. Students are shown example posters, which include common student mistakes (based on our analyses of hundreds of actual middle school student science fair posters). For each poster, students are asked whether each of its sections (e.g., Research Question section) has any problems, and if so, to identify the problem(s). Afterward, students set up two posters from sets of options for each poster.

At the end of this assessment, feedback is given on the correctness of all student responses. This can be used to identify the lessons and other activities that students would likely benefit most from in the tutor.

Information assessed in this activity includes students' ability to do the following:

  • Identify independent and dependent variables in an experiment.

  • Determine the quality of the content of background research.

  • Identify confounds in the experimental procedure.

  • Interpret experimental results in terms of hypotheses.

  • Draw correct conclusions based on experimental results.

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