The Science Education Center at National Taiwan Normal University has long been known its contribution in research and development in science education. As the major wisdom tank of the Ministry of Education of the central government of Taiwan, the Science Education Center accommodates experienced researcher of science and of science education, mainly coming from the College of Sciences at the National Taiwan Normal University, who give advice of planning and strategy for the Ministry of Education and carry out research projects funded by the Ministry of Education and National Council of Science of Taiwan. The Science Education Center is equipped with spacious room and modern facilities for all kind of academic activities....
For years, the Science Education Center has devoted its research effort to, at least, three fields of research in science education. These are curriculum/material development, alternative assessment on science, and survey research on students’ science achievement and on the profile of science teachers.
The SEC was responsible to develop national science curriculum framework and textbooks for junior high schools from 1977 to 1983. The framework and textbooks were effective from 1983 to 1997. On the completion of the work on the development of science framework and textbooks, the SEC started to develop complimentary learning modules for almost ten years, which focused on inquiry and activity-oriented teaching and were served as extended learning materials for more able students. Some of these modules were modified into science textbooks of newer editions or often used as teaching materials for gift programs of science or science clubs in junior high schools.
The assessment system in Taiwanese secondary schools was long dominated by so-called objective testing, which have been criticized for its failure for monitoring students’ high-order scientific thinking/abilities. The Science Education Center promoted the use of alternative assessment in the science classroom in Taiwan and conducted a three-year long project, from 1998 to 2000, to develop items of performance assessment for students in secondary schools. Performance assessment provides activities with authentic context, which offer opportunities for students to solve problem. During the process of performance assessment, students’ knowledge and high-order thinking are monitored and evaluated. The promotion of alternative assessment paved the foundation for later creativity research and game in Taiwan. The Science Education Center afterward held a series of creativity contest and attracted attention from many smart students.
The Science Education Center was funded to carry out the TIMSS-R (1999), TIMSS 2003, and TIMSS 2007 projects since 1997, which is an international study on achievement of science and mathematic for primary and secondary students. The TIMSS project needed cooperation among scientists, science educators, and science teachers. The Science Education Center demonstrated its efficient administration and research quality to complete this internationally large scale of study. With this reputation, the Science Education Center was funded by the Ministry of Education to conduct two more national assessments on secondary students’ achievement of science and mathematics, with the aim to evaluate the effectiveness of current curriculum. Later, the Ministry of Education funded a project on the investigation of the profile of science and mathematics teachers and on the feedback and attitudes of science and mathematics teachers on the current curriculum. The result of survey study will inform the Ministry of Education the implementation of the current curriculum.