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In the Netherlands the final secondary school physics examination is in two parts: a school examination (SE) arranged by the schools themselves and a national written examination (CE). Laboratory-based practical examinations have only been required in the SE for the last year-before that it was left to physics teachers to decide whether to include practical work in the secondary school physics course. Many Dutch physics teachers have experimented on how to assess laboratory work. The author was a physics teacher till 1976 and tried many different ways. But there was not coordination between all these assessments and the evaluation was insufficient. In other countries there has been some research about the objectives of science laboratory work, but very little research has been done about the objectives in relation to the construction and analysis of practical tests. Many lists of objectives are made intuitively, e.g. the CITO list (Hellingman 1982). The author describes a research project which aims to give Dutch physics teachers clearer ideas on the assessment of practical work and to show what abilities can be tested by practical examinations.
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