Are you wondering what your students are thinking in chemistry?

ACCT logo student inside triangle of text: Chemical Thinking Assessment

If you are an experienced (3+ years) middle school or high school teacher of chemistry in the US in the Central or Eastern time zone, we invite you to apply to participate in the ACCT professional development program to examine how formative assessment can foster students’ chemical thinking. Due to the changes in schooling caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACCT project is changing its plan for professional development for 2020-2021 school year. To respect the time that teachers will need to adjust with their students in the new school year, we will offer the ACCT professional development program in a synchronous interactive and remote (via Zoom) shorter format of a half-year, beginning in January 2021.

This series of interactive workshops focuses on the use of formative assessment to elicit and uncover students’ disciplinary thinking about important chemistry ideas. Teachers will learn and practice approaches for noticing students’ thinking, interpreting students’ ways of thinking in the discipline, and planning ways to act on what is noticed. Design and adaptation of formative assessments for these approaches and interpretation of classroom discourse through examination of your own classroom videos are emphasized. Kits will be mailed to teachers with materials for participating simultaneously with other cohort members in interactive activities during the online workshops. A cohort of approximately 12 middle and high school teachers will be accepted for this professional development opportunity.

The ACCT professional development program will take place fully remotely during January to early June 2021, in 3-hour after-school Zoom sessions approximately once every two weeks. We may gather in Boston for one in-person workshop at the end of the school year if circumstances permit. Participating teachers will earn 6 graduate credits in chemistry from UMass Boston, corresponding to (Formative Assessment in Chemistry Teaching, 3 credits) and (Chemistry Classroom Discourse, 3 credits).

Applications will be accepted through November 6, 2020.

Given the uncertain nature of the public health situation, the timeline may be changed. This page will be updated if there are changes. Please reach out to if you have any questions.

The Assessing for Change in Chemical Thinking project is an NSF-funded professional development and research partnership between the Boston Public Schools (BPS) and UMass Boston.

We are seeking high school chemistry teachers and middle school science teachers in the Eastern and Central time zones in the US who teach chemistry in their classes.

This engaging series of online workshops offers teachers opportunities to investigate multiple forms of formative assessment and their usefulness for uncovering student thinking. Participants will design and implement formative assessment activities with their students and will reflect upon and enhance their teaching moves for eliciting and advancing student thinking with the disciplinary core ideas and practices in chemistry. The leadership team includes Boston Public Schools science teacher leaders, BPS Science Department staff, and chemistry faculty and education researchers at UMass Boston. This team has been developing and refining a model of teacher-led professional development for 7 years. Grants from the National Science Foundation supporting ACCT intentionally included transition to online professional development, which has already been implemented in Spring 2020 during school closures. In the 2020-21 school year, the model is transitioning to a national American Chemical Society model.

Seeking high school chemistry teachers and middle school science teachers in the Eastern and Central time zones in the US who teach some chemistry content and have 3 or more years of teaching experience.

Participants will:

  • Attend 12 three-hour professional development sessions via Zoom. If circumstances permit, the last two sessions will be combined into an all-day in-person workshop in Boston in June.
  • Complete all homework assignments (e.g., video recording classes, reflective commenting on your videos and others’ videos, collecting de-identified student work with your evaluations and reflections, organizing a portfolio of four formative assessments).
  • Earn six graduate credits in chemistry from UMass Boston.
  • Participation is contingent on approval by your school/district of the associated educational research.


Teachers who are accepted are expected to complete participation in the entire program. There will be assigned work that involves video recording formative assessment activities in your classroom, designing formative assessment tasks, and analyzing student work. For more information, contact us at .

Workshop topics include:

Designing Chemistry Learning Experiences: Develop and use accessible formative assessment activities during chemistry instruction.

The Chemical Thinking Framework: Adapt existing formative assessments to focus on chemical thinking, and notice and interpret students’ ways of thinking in chemistry.

The Formative Assessment Enactment Model: Clarify purposes of formative assessment, and recognize and plan questions to uncover and advance students' chemical thinking.

Cognitive Interviewing Strategies and Skills: Uncover and advance students’ notions about chemistry.

Classroom Discourse: Examine videos from your own and others' classrooms during use of formative assessments to identify productive teaching moves.

Teaching dilemmas: Analyze situations that teachers negotiate as we grow teaching practices and strategies to address them.

Applicants must teach in the US and be in the Eastern or Central time zones to be considered for the ACCT Cohort that will take place during January to June 2021. Download the Formative Assessment Portfolio Chapter Template below. (Due by November, 6, 2020)

Part 1: Complete the online application: APPLY NOW THROUGH NOVEMBER 6, 2020  

Part 2: Download the Formative Assessment Portfolio Chapter Template below. (Due by November, 6, 2020)

 Use the template to complete the application as a Word document and submit by email: If you include images in the Word doc, please do not downsize, i.e., keep them as high resolution, and make sure to submit Part 2 as a Word doc (not as a PDF).


For more information, contact us at: .

Event: More Information
Event Type: 
professional development program
Saturday, May 2, 2020 - 10:47 to Friday, November 6, 2020 - 22:59