Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Biology


Juliane Orsenne, Annette Upmeier zu Belzen

Model Competence
Practical Tasks for the Diagnosis of Model Competence in Biology Classes


Students can reach the primary goals in scientific classes (Hodson 1993) by working with scientific models themselves (Henze et al. 2007). The skills required for the correct handling of models and the abstract conceptions used in this context are described in the competence model for model competence by Upmeier zu Belzen and Krüger.
However, a validation with regard to the content of this competence model should not be restricted to paper-pencil tests, as the use of various instruments would offer inquiry of different facets of model competence. Practical tasks are a proper method for collecting data about procedural knowledge and manual skills (Hamilton et al. 1997).
On the basis of the competence model, different problem-oriented practical tasks are being developed and then tested in the 7th to 10th grade, trying to diagnose relevant aspects of model competence that have hitherto not been taken into account by paper-pencil tests.

The question is in how far a connection to findings of other diagnostic tasks can be established.
There will be a video-study of the students working on the tasks, combined with half-structured interviews in order to gain further knowledge about models. The analysis of the data from the interviews will be done according to the qualitative analysis of content (Mayring2003); for analyzing the video material a special encoding manual will be designed.
Already evaluated practical tasks could be used in class as devices for gaining knowledge via models. Furthermore the encoding manual could function as a diagnostic instrument for teachers.