Skip to main content

Welcome, you are visiting MOSART-LS


MOSART-LS: Misconceptions Oriented, Standards-based Assessment Resource for Teachers in the Life Sciences


The Misconception Oriented Standards-based Assessment Resource for Teachers in Life Science (MOSART-LS) project develops rigorous Distractor Driven Multiple Choice assessment tools that aid in generating evidence-based measures of MSP projects' impact on K-8 teachers' life science subject-matter knowledge and relevant pedagogical content knowledge. The National Research Council's (NRC's) Science Standards and AAAS Science Benchmarks serve as a framework for the grade-appropriate content that teachers are expected to master. This work utilizes peer-reviewed research studies of student conceptions in order to generate specialized assessments. These assessments measure the degree to which teachers hold the accepted scientific view represented by each of the 31 K-8 Content Standards in life science. The project is developing 250 valid new items and gathering data from a nationally representative sample of 8000 students and their teachers, characterizing the content knowledge of both. Subsets of test items are organized into instruments and validated by content experts. When added to the existing test item bank developed as part of earlier efforts that focused on physical science and earth/space science, these new life science items also allow for the construction of "general science" instruments to measure the concepts taught across all NRC content standards at the K-4 and 5-8 grade bands. Incorporation of these tests into the MOSART online assessment system will make administration easier and allow for the aggregation of data from participating MSPs.

The application of psychometric models aligned with cognitive research findings are used to establish scales and subtests that accurately gauge the scientific understanding needed for teaching elementary school and middle school life science. These instruments are useful for diagnostic purposes, ascertaining the strengths and weaknesses of participants prior to professional development. By adding a post-test administration, changes in teacher knowledge can be measured and characterized. The project is a direct outgrowth of the proposer's earlier efforts including the video "A Private Universe" and MOSART.