The Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments (TRE) study focused on the assessment of problem solving in the field of physical science. Two extended scenarios for measuring problem solving with technology were created for TRE:
The TRE Search scenario required students to locate and synthesize information about scientific helium balloons from a simulated World Wide Web environment. To learn more about the Search scenario, read a detailed description of the task.
The TRE Simulation scenario required students to experiment to solve problems about relationships among buoyancy, mass, and volume. Students used the TRE simulation tool to set values for the mass carried by a scientific helium balloon and the amount of helium contained in the balloon and then were able to view animated displays of the results. The Simulation scenario (requires Macromedia Flash plug-in), as it was administered to students, is available for use on this website, and a fully accessible description of the Simulation scenario is available as well. While students were required to complete the simulation, you can use the the "Back" button on your browser to leave the simulation at any time. Please note that depending on your connection speeds, downloading the Simulation scenario could take up to 30 seconds.
Both scenarios targeted grade 8 students assumed to have basic computer skills, basic exposure to scientific inquiry and to concepts of buoyancy and volume, and the ability to read scientifically oriented material at a sixth-grade level or higher. In both scenarios, a tutorial introduced students to the interface, and science and computer help tools were available throughout the assessment. To view a sample tutorial as well as the science and computer help tools, use the Simulation scenario.
Student performance on both scenarios was assessed by capturing and scoring student actions electronically as well as by human scoring of responses to open-ended motivating questions. To read more about the scoring, analysis, and results of the TRE study, see the report Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments.
Go to the Technology-Rich Environments overview page.