Adult STS Educational Assessment
This assessment is based on the three vertices of a triangle composed of cognition, observation, and interpretation, all of which converge on the nature of science, the relevance of science to everyday life, and decision-making behaviors.
We chose one measure from Conley, Pintrich, Vekiri, & Harrison (2004). This measure encompasses four dimensions about scientific knowledge -- source, certainty, development and justification -- so we thought it might reveal interesting dimensions of stasis and change in attitudes toward science from formal school environments to informal adult learning spaces.
Wanting to include the broader content and scales within one existing instrument, the Views on Science-Technology-Society or VOSTS (Aikenhead & Ryan, 1992), provided another good starting point from which we drew other measures. The VOSTS measures sought to understand the views that middle and high school students held on the complex topic “science, technology and society” and its detailed narrative position descriptions, gleaned from some common viewpoints that researchers had identified in structured classroom writing -- so they captured authentically the complexities of possible positions. But because they were simply too long to read and thus would have been impractical to respond to use in a voluntary adult engagement context, we adjusted the items for content and structure that would be more appropriate to the audience and the circumstances of our collaborative events. We revised items with a combination of brief statements (just like the VOSTS) plus Likert scale and open-ended follow-up response.