The Pedagogy of Science Teaching Test (POSTT)


Teachers must be able to combine several important kinds of knowledge in order to successfully implement classroom science instruction for concept learning. These include knowledge of science content, science pedagogy, and inquiry pedagogy. A theoretical knowledge of each is not enough; a teacher needs to understand how to integrate them to make instructional decisions for teaching a variety of specific topics in actual classroom situations. Science teacher education programs normally include both science content courses and science teaching methods courses. In the former, understanding of science content is both promoted and assessed using a large variety of problems. Much less attention has been given to promoting and assessing understanding of science pedagogies in this way.

Our focus has been the design, development, and evaluation of about a hundred science pedagogy test items, for both formative and summative use. The items are posed as case-based teaching problems rather than in terms of generalities about pedagogy. Each item begins with a classroom teaching vignette, followed by a question about preferred teaching approaches for the particular topic and situation. The four response options lie along a spectrum of instructional approaches from ‘didactic direct,’ ‘active direct,’ ‘guided inquiry,’ to ‘open inquiry.’ Items can be sorted and selected by grade level and/or by science discipline. For formative use in science teacher education settings, individual items are designed to spark engaging discussions about contextualized alternative teaching approaches. For summative or research purposes, selected items can be compiled into a Pedagogy of Science Teaching Test (POSTT) which can provide science teaching orientation profiles across this basic spectrum of pedagogical choices, as well as reference points for comparative purposes.

The buttons to the left can be used to navigate the site, which makes freely available information about the POSTT as well as the individual items and instruments. At this time, some of our items are still in revision. Only final form ideas are publically available. As our revision process proceeds we will unlock more items until the full bank of items is open.

The project was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (DUE-0512596). Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations at this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


3225 Wood Hall
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5444 USA
269-387-5398 | 269-387-4998 Fax