Developed by Stephanie J. Slater
|Purpose||To measure students’ general astronomy content knowledge across the entire first-semester introductory course.|
|Focus||Astronomy Content knowledge (gravity, electromagnetic radiation, fusion and formation of heavy elements, evolution of the universe, star and stellar evolution, evolution and structure of the solar system, seasons, scale, yearly patterns, daily patterns, moon phases)|
Sample questions from the TOAST:
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This is the second highest level of research validation, corresponding to at least 5 of the validation categories below.
Research Validation Summary
Based on Research Into:
- Student thinking
- Student interviews
- Expert review
- Appropriate statistical analysis
- At multiple institutions
- By multiple research groups
- Peer-reviewed publication
The astronomy concepts covered on the TOAST were derived from three expert position statements about the core ideas in astronomy and a later review by 28 experts. The initial TOAST questions followed this set of scientific content criteria and best practices for test question construction. Existing questions were taken from other assessments when possible, and four new questions were written based on research into student thinking and the authors experience with teaching the content. The readability of the TOAST questions was tested and found to be appropriate. The test then underwent expert review and was revised. Next, the experts participated in think-aloud interviews as they answered test questions to check the scientific content. The TOAST was given to over 1000 non-science majors at five institutions and statistical analysis of reliability, difficulty and discrimination were conducted and reasonable values found. Responses were also compared to published research on student ideas about relevant topics to ensure the TOAST questions and responses were supported by relevant theory. The TOAST has been used with over 2000 students and results published in three peer-reviewed articles.
- D. Barringer, J. Plummer, J. Kregenow, and C. Parma, Gamified approach to teaching introductory astronomy online, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 14 (1), 010140 (2018).
- K. Berryhill and T. Slater, Opportunity to Learn: Investigating Possible Predictors for Pre-Course Test Of Astronomy STandards TOAST Scores, J. Astro. Earth. Sci. Educ. 4 (2), 95 (2018).
- D. French and A. Burrows, Inquiring Astronomy: Incorporating Student-Centered Pedagogical Techniques in an Introductory College Science Course, J. Coll. Sci. Teaching 046 (04), (2017).
- S. Slater, The Development And Validation Of The Test Of Astronomy STandards (TOAST), J. Astro. Earth. Sci. Educ. 1 (1), 22 (2014).
- S. Slater, S. Price-Schleigh, and D. Stork, Analysis of Individual Test Of Astronomy STandards (TOAST) Item Responses, J. Astro. Earth. Sci. Educ. 2 (2), 89 (2015).
- S. Slater, T. Slater, and A. Shaner, Impact of Backwards Faded Scaffolding in an Astronomy Course for Pre-service Elementary Teachers based on Inquiry, J. Geosci. Educ. 56 (5), 408 (2008).
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Typical scores on the TOAST from Slater 2014.
The final version of the TOAST available here, vf, was released in 2008.