Astronomy Standards

Here are my astronomy class’s first standards. These standards come directly from the first seven inquiry activities done mostly in class. Collectively, these activities form a coherent unit on critical thinking framed so as to form the foundation for astronomy or any other science.

The biggest problem I have, and have had for well over a decade, is that students fail to see how any of this “stuff” has anything to do with astronomy. They, like most young students, have been conditioned to see science as a set of memorizable facts and figures and equations rather than as a process that relies on questioning, reflection, and reasoning. They frequently complain to my chair that I’m wasting their time. Fortunately, my chair almost always defends me. I’ll say more about changing classroom culture in a future post.

Standard: I can articulate a justification for working in groups like scientists do.
Proficiency Indicator(s): 
Write either a sentence or a paragraph explaining the benefits of working in groups compared to working individually.
Mastery Rubric: Each sentence is a complete sentence. There are no spelling, grammar, punctuation, or other errors. My meaning is clear without the reader having to guess at it.

Standard: I can use scientific terms correctly even if those terms are used differently
in non-scientific applications.
Proficiency Indicator(s): Recognize when and if a scientific term is used correctly or incorrectly. If it is used incorrectly, correct the wording so that the usage is correct.
Mastery Rubric: All writing is done in standard English with correct spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and meaning.

Standard: I can create an operational definition of a physical, geometric, or mathematical concept in either list form (as a series of enumerated steps) or in paragraph form (in complete sentences).
Performance Indicator(s): Create an operational definition, in the specified form, for any concept previously encountered in this course.
Mastery Rubric: All writing is done in standard English with correct spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and meaning. The end point must conclusively define the concept involved. The reader must not have to guess at how steps flow. The reader must not have any questions about the concept being defined.

Standard: I can trace a piece of scientific knowledge all the way back to its observational origin.
Performance Indicator(s): Given a scientific fact, I can cite what observational evidence supports that fact. I can also distinguish between evidence that does and does not support a given fact.
Mastery Rubric: All writing is done in standard English with correct spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and meaning.

Standard: I can analyze a concept, passage, document, or any other conceptual unit by mapping it into the elements of thought.
Performance Indicator(s): Write one sentence or one paragraph, depending on instructions, applying each element of thought to the conceptual unit under analysis.
Mastery Rubric: All writing is done in standard English with correct spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and meaning.

Standard: Given a natural phenomenon encountered in this course, I can create a framework that accounts for the phenomenon’s observed characteristics.
Performance Indicator(s): Given a natural phenomenon encountered in this course, I can create a framework that accounts for the phenomenon’s observed characteristics.
Mastery Rubric: All writing is done in standard English with correct spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and meaning. The framework must account for all observational aspects of the phenomenon. The reader must be able to reconstruct the phenomenon from the framework.

Standard: I can recognize the fallacies and distraction techniques described in this activity and I can properly point them out to the person or source using them.
Performance Indicator(s): Identify and rebut a logical fallacy or distraction technique used by another source.
Mastery Rubric: All writing is done in standard English with correct spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and meaning.

Standard: I can assess whether or not an explanation is testable and falsifiable.
Performance Indicator(s): Given an explanation for a phenomenon, explain whether or not it is testable and falsifiable and provide supporting reasoning.
Mastery Rubric: All writing is done in standard English with correct spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and meaning.

Feedback is welcome!