Science Education (science + education)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Crafting Museum Experiences in Light of Research on Learning: Implications of the National Research Council's Report on Informal Science Education

Andrew Shouse
The report is a synthesis of some 2,000 studies and evaluations of learning in non-school settings such as museums. Here we focus on three specific topics discussed in the full report, which we see as particularly important for museum professionals. These are: a framework for developing and studying science learning experiences; cultural diversity as an integral resource for learning; and assessment of learning. Many museums include "learning" among their goals and many researchers concern themselves with how museums and other settings can be organized to support learning. Yet this wealth of research is rarely brought into focus and offered as guidance to the museum community. [source]

Good Geometry for Effective Science Education

Dennis Liu
First page of article [source]

Positive Growth: Developments in the Philosophy of Science Education

First page of article [source]

Engaging Science Education Within Diverse Cultures

James Gaskell
At the heart of discussions about an appropriate school science in a diverse world are questions about the status of modern science versus other schemes for understanding the natural world. Does modern science occupy a privileged epistemological position with respect to alternative beliefs? There has been a movement from an emphasis on replacing students' ideas based on traditional cultures to one of respecting those ideas and adding to them an understanding of modern science ideas and an exploration of when each might be useful. Respecting both sets of explanations need not deny discussions about credibility in particular contexts. School science, however, is always located within wider educational and political structures. Broad elements of the community must be engaged in dialogue concerning what knowledge about the natural world is important, to whom, and for what purposes. [source]

Special issue,Philosophy of Science Education

Michael A. Peters
First page of article [source]

Writing Across the Curriculum: A Hermeneutic Study of Students' Experiences in Writing in Food Science Education

David J. Dzurec
ABSTRACT: Writing can enhance learning by helping students put words to their thinking about course material. The purposes of this study were to assess the influence of a structured academic journal writing exercise on student learning in a food science class and to examine student responses to the experience. Hermeneutics, a philosophy of science and qualitative research method, was used to analyze journal data from 48 participating students during a 2-y period and involved 3 steps: (1) describing themes taken from a global reading of student commentaries, (2) reducing or relating themes to specific, verbatim statements found in student writings, and (3) interpreting or imposing meaning on the themes and the statements (Lanigan 1988). Hermeneutic analysis showed that journal writing was difficult at first but became easier and enjoyable over time, allowed students to relate course content to other knowledge, exposed students to course material multiple times allowing for better information retention, enhanced student understanding, helped students think critically, required students to prepare for class, gave students the opportunity to express opinions, and allowed students to experience writing as enjoyable and positive. Several minor themes suggested that most students found the experience useful to their learning. Findings from this study are consistent with neuroscience and cognitive psychology theories regarding learning and the development of reasoning skills. [source]

National Science Foundation Graduate Teaching Fellows Promote Food Science Education in K-12 Schools in Maine

B. Calder
ABSTRACT: The Univ. of Maine is participating in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) GK-12 Teaching Fellows program. Between 2000 and 2003, 4 food science graduate students demonstrated food- and nutrition-related science lessons, among other innovative activities. This article includes details of an activity on natural dyes to help students understand plant pigments. Assessment of the NSF GK-12 program is ongoing both locally and nationally. NSF's goals are being met, including one of the most important, which is the effect of NSF Fellows as role models on K-12 students. [source]

The Undecidable Grounds of Scientific Expertise: Science Education and the Limits of Intellectual Independence

Stella Gaon
Motivated by the work of Hardwig (1985, 1991) on epistemic dependence and trust in expertise, we enquire into the nature and extent of the critical assessment that non-scientists can make,and that they should be taught to make,with regard to science. Our thesis is that critical assessment of science is possible for non-experts because at the basis of science is a set of norms, beliefs and values that are contestable by non-scientists. These norms, beliefs and values are of critical importance to science education and valuable to explore from a pedagogical perspective. [source]

Strategies reported used by instructors to address student alternate conceptions in chemical equilibrium

Jeff S. Piquette
This study explores general-chemistry instructors' awareness of and ability to identify and address common student learning obstacles in chemical equilibrium. Reported instructor strategies directed at remediating student alternate conceptions were investigated and compared with successful, literature-based conceptual change methods. Fifty-two volunteer general chemistry instructors from 50 U.S. colleges and universities completed an interactive web-based instrument consisting of open-ended questions, a rating scale, classroom scenarios, and a demographic form. Survey respondents who provided responses or described remediation strategies requiring further clarification were identified (n,=,6); these respondents amplified their views in separate, researcher-led semistructured phone interviews. All 52 responding chemistry instructors reported and identified common student areas of difficulty in chemical equilibrium. They reported employing a variety of strategies to address and attempt to remediate students' alternate conceptions; however, these self-reported strategies rarely included all four necessary conditions specified by Posner, Strike, Hewson, and Gertzog (Science Education, 66, 211,217, 1982) to stimulate conceptual change. Instructor-identified student alternate conceptions were congruent with literature-reported alternate conceptions of chemical equilibrium, thus providing validation support for these compilations. Implications for teaching and further research are also highlighted. 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 42: 1112,1134, 2005 [source]

Making the Transition to a Food Science Curriculum Based on Assessment of Learning Outcomes

R.W. Hartel
ABSTRACT: Despite the well-documented advantages of switching to instruction based on assessment of learning outcomes, many academic disciplines, including food science, are still based on the traditional mode of instruction. The problems of converting from traditional to assessment-driven instruction are numerous and change in the university setting is slow. However, certain guidelines can be followed to start the process for change and evaluate the effects on student learning. A partnership between the industry being served and academic instructors is needed to ensure that assessment-based instruction is focused on the proper principles. Methods of assessment of learning outcomes need to be carefully chosen and developed to bring industry standards and student learning together. This can be done only if both direct and indirect assessments at the program level provide faculty with means to answer their most pressing questions about what students know and are able to do as a result of Food Science education. [source]

Science education as a civil right: Urban schools and opportunity-to-learn considerations

William Tate
In this article I make the case that urban science education is a civil rights issue and that to effectively address it as such we must shift from arguments for civil rights as shared physical space in schools to demands for high-quality academic preparation that includes the opportunity to learn science. The argument is organized into two sections: first, a review of the school desegregation literature to make the case that urban science education for all is a civil rights issue; and second, an examination and critique of opportunity-to-learn literature, including an analysis of three opportunity-to-learn constructs to illustrate their potential as civil rights tools in science education. 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 38: 1015,1028, 2001 [source]

Science education in urban settings: Seeking new ways of praxis through critical ethnography

Angela Calabrese Barton
The challenges faced in urban science education are deeply rooted in the ongoing struggle for racial, class and gender equity. Part of this struggle is tied to huge differences in class and involves making more equitable the distribution of resources. Another part of this struggle is tied to the rich diversity of children who attend urban schools and involves generating new ways of understanding, valuing, and genuinely incorporating into school-based practices the culture, language, beliefs, and experiences that these children bring to school. Thus, this article argues that to address these two challenges,and indeed to achieve a more just science education for all urban students, explicitly political research methodologies must be considered and incorporated into urban education. One potential route for this is critical ethnography, for this kind of methodology emerges collaboratively from the lives of the researcher and the researched and is centrally about praxis and a political commitment to the struggle for liberation and in defense of human rights. In making this argument, I have drawn from stories from my own research with homeless children. 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 38: 899,917, 2001 [source]

A systematic review of titles and abstracts of experimental studies in medical education: many informative elements missing

David A Cook
Context, Informative titles and abstracts facilitate reading and searching the literature. Objective, To evaluate the quality of titles and abstracts of full-length reports of experimental studies in medical education. Methods, We used a random sample of 110 articles (of 185 eligible articles) describing education experiments. Articles were published in 2003 and 2004 in Academic Medicine, Advances in Health Sciences Education, American Journal of Surgery, Journal of General Internal Medicine, Medical Education and Teaching and Learning in Medicine. Titles were categorised as informative, indicative, neither, or both. Abstracts were evaluated for the presence of a rationale, objective, descriptions of study design, setting, participants, study intervention and comparison group, main outcomes, results and conclusions. Results, Of the 105 articles suitable for review, 86 (82%) had an indicative title and 10 (10%) had a title that was both indicative and informative. A rationale was present in 66 abstracts (63%), objectives were present in 84 (80%), descriptions of study design in 20 (19%), setting in 29 (28%), and number and stage of training of participants in 42 (40%). The study intervention was defined in 55 (52%) abstracts. Among the 48 studies with a control or comparison group, this group was defined in 21 abstracts (44%). Study outcomes were defined in 64 abstracts (61%). Data were presented in 48 (46%) abstracts. Conclusions were presented in 97 abstracts (92%). Conclusions, Reports of experimental studies in medical education frequently lack the essential elements of informative titles and abstracts. More informative reporting is needed. [source]

Anatomical Sciences Education, Clinical Anatomy, and The Anatomical Record: Take your pick

Stephen W. Carmichael Editor-in-Chief
No abstract is available for this article. [source]

Virtual reality simulations in Web-based science education

Young-Suk Shin
Abstract This article presents the educational possibilities of Web-based science education using a desktop virtual reality (VR) system. A Web site devoted to science education for middle school students has been designed and developed in the areas of earth sciences: meteorology, geophysics, geology, oceanography, and astronomy. Learners can establish by themselves the pace of their lessons using learning contents considered learner level and they can experiment in real time with the concepts they have learned, interacting with VR environments that we provide. A VR simulation program developed has been evaluated with a questionnaire from learners after learning freely on the Web. This study shows that Web-based science education using VR can be effectively used as a virtual class. When we consider the rapid development of VR technology and lowering of cost, the study can construct more immersive environments for the education in the near future. 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Comput Appl Eng Educ 10: 18,25, 2002; Published online in Wiley InterScience (; DOI 10.1002/cae.10014 [source]

Gazing at the Hand: A Foucaultian View of the Teaching of Manipulative Skills to Introductory Chemistry Students in the United States and the Potential for Transforming Laboratory Instruction

ABSTRACT Many studies of chemistry have described the rise of the academic chemical laboratory and laboratory skills in the United States as a result of famous men, important discoveries, and international influences. What is lacking is a perspective of the manifestations of the balances of power and knowledge between teacher and student. A Foucaultian analysis of the teaching of manipulative skills to the introductory student in high school and college in the United States during the later half of the 19th and into the 20th century has provided such a perspective. The analysis focuses on the body, specifically students' hands, and how this body has been redescribed in terms of time, space, activity, and their combinations. It is argued in the first part of this article that the teaching of manipulative skills in the chemistry laboratory can be characterized by effects of differential forms of power and knowledge, such as those provided by Foucault's ideas of hierarchical observation, normalization, and the examination. Moreover, it is evident that disciplinary techniques primarily focused on the physical hands of the student have been recast to include a new cognitive-physiological space in which the teaching of manipulative skills currently takes place. In the second part of this article, the author describes his own professional development as a laboratory instructor through a series of reflective statements that are critiqued from a Foucaultian perspective. The personal narratives are presented in order to pro- vide science educators with an alternative way for their students to think about the relationship between one's manipulative skills and the quality of their data. The pedagogical approach is related to the maturation process of the chemist and contextualized in the current paradigm of laboratory practice, inquiry-based science education. [source]

Something ,Paralogical' Under the Sun: Lyotard's Postmodern Condition and science education

Michalinos ZembylasArticle first published online: 2 NOV 200
Sometimes I dream that I am an astronaut. I land my spaceship on a distant planet. When I tell me children on that planet that on earth school is compulsory and that we have homework every evening, they split their sides laughing. And so I decide to stay with them for a long, long time, Well anyway, until the summer holidays. (Cited in Lyotard, 1995, p. xix) Each state of the mind is irreducible. The mere act of giving it a name, that is of classifying it, implies a falsification of it. From all this, it would be possible to deduce that there is no science in Tlon, let alone rational thought. The paradox, however, is that sciences exist, in countless number, The metaphysicians of Tlon are not looking for truth, nor even for an approximation of it; they are after a kind of amazement. They consider metaphysics a branch of fantastic literature. They know that a system is nothing more than the subordination of all aspects of the universe to some one of them. Even the phrase ,all the aspects' can be rejected, since it presupposes the impossible inclusion of the present moment, and of past moments. (Borges, 1962, p. 10) [source]

Reconsidering simulations in science education at a distance: features of effective use

C. Blake
Abstract, This paper proposes a reconsideration of use of computer simulations in science education. We discuss three studies of the use of science simulations for undergraduate distance learning students. The first one, The Driven Pendulum simulation is a computer-based experiment on the behaviour of a pendulum. The second simulation, Evolve is concerned with natural selection in a hypothetical species of a flowering plant. The third simulation, The Double Slit Experiment deals with electron diffraction and students are provided with an experimental setup to investigate electron diffraction for double and single slit arrangements. We evaluated each simulation, with 30 students each for The Driven Pendulum and Evolve simulations and about 100 students for The Double Slit Experiment. From these evaluations we have developed a set of the features for the effective use of simulations in distance learning. The features include student support, multiple representations and tailorability. [source]

Cognitive perturbation through dynamic modelling: a pedagogical approach to conceptual change in science

S. C. Li
Abstract While simulations have widely been used to facilitate conceptual change in learning science, results indicate that significant disparity or gap between students' prior conceptions and scientific conceptions still exists. To bridge the gap, we argue that the applications of computer simulation in science education should be broadened to enable students to model their thoughts and to improve and advance their theories progressively. While computer simulations are often used to offer opportunities for students to explore scientific models, they do not give them the space to explore their own conceptions, and thus cannot effectively address the challenge of changing students' alternative conceptions. Findings from our recent empirical study reveal that, firstly, dynamic modelling using the environment WorldMaker 2000 in conjunction with the use of a cognitive perturbation strategy by the teacher was effective in helping students to migrate from their alternative conceptions towards a more scientifically inclined one; secondly, the pathways of conceptual change across groups were idiosyncratic and diverse. Respecting students' ideas seriously and providing cognitive perturbation at appropriate junctures of the inquiry process are found to be conducive to fostering conceptual change. In this paper, we will report on the details of the pedagogical approach adopted by the teacher and portray how students' conceptions change during the entire process of model building. [source]

Assessment of the Joint Food Science Curriculum of Washington State University and the University of Idaho by Graduates and Their Employers

Stephanie Clark
ABSTRACT: Thirty-two recent graduates from the joint food science program of Washington State Univ. (WSU) and The Univ. of Idaho (UI) and 12 of their employers participated in a survey study to assess food science program outcomes. The objective of this study was to assess the joint curriculum in its ability to prepare undergraduate students for critical thinking, problem solving, and technical competence in the food industry. Two survey tools, 1 for graduates and 1 for their employers, were designed to assess job preparedness and the skill set attained by food science program graduates. Graduates of the joint food science program generally indicated satisfaction with their food science education and suggested that they were adequately prepared for their jobs. Both students and employers indicated that most of the identified Success Skills are used daily on the job, and that graduates were well prepared with Success Skills. Graduates and employers reported adequate preparation in Food Processing and Engineering competence. Some significant differences (P < 0.05) were found in perceived and assessed competence. Specifically, while student indicated that they were well prepared with Food Chemistry and Analysis, Food Safety and Microbiology, and Applied Food Science competence, employers indicated only adequate preparation in Food Chemistry and Analysis, and Applied Food Science competence, but poor preparation in Food Safety and Microbiology competence. The findings suggest that students should be given opportunities for self-evaluation in undergraduate courses. Because the survey models are based on Institute of Food Technologists requirements, it is expected that the surveys can be readily adopted by other institutions to assess student learning and program effectiveness. [source]

The Undecidable Grounds of Scientific Expertise: Science Education and the Limits of Intellectual Independence

Stella Gaon
Motivated by the work of Hardwig (1985, 1991) on epistemic dependence and trust in expertise, we enquire into the nature and extent of the critical assessment that non-scientists can make,and that they should be taught to make,with regard to science. Our thesis is that critical assessment of science is possible for non-experts because at the basis of science is a set of norms, beliefs and values that are contestable by non-scientists. These norms, beliefs and values are of critical importance to science education and valuable to explore from a pedagogical perspective. [source]

Building a learning progression for celestial motion: Elementary levels from an earth-based perspective

Julia D. Plummer
Abstract Prior research has demonstrated that neither children nor adults hold a scientific understanding of the big ideas of astronomy, as described in standards documents for science education [National Research Council [1996]. National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; American Association for the Advancement of Science 1993. Benchmarks for science literacy. New York: Oxford University Press]. This manuscript focuses on ideas in astronomy that are at the foundation of elementary students' understanding of the discipline: the apparent motion of the sun, moon, and stars as seen from an earth-based perspective. Lack of understanding of these concepts may hinder students' progress towards more advanced understanding in the domain. We have analyzed the logic of the domain and synthesized prior research assessing children's knowledge to develop a set of learning trajectories that describe how students' initial ideas about apparent celestial motion as they enter school can be built upon, through successively more sophisticated levels of understanding, to reach a level that aligns with the scientific view. Analysis of an instructional intervention with elementary students in the planetarium was used to test our initial construction of the learning trajectories. This manuscript presents a first look at the use of a learning progression framework in analyzing the structure of astronomy education. We discuss how this work may eventually lead towards the development and empirical testing of a full learning progression on the big idea: how children learn to describe and explain apparent patterns of celestial motion. 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 47:768,787, 2010 [source]

Learner error, affectual stimulation, and conceptual change

Michael Allen
Abstract Pupils' expectation-related errors oppose the development of an appropriate scientific attitude towards empirical evidence and the learning of accepted science content, representing a hitherto neglected area of research in science education. In spite of these apparent drawbacks, a pedagogy is described that encourages pupils to allow their biases to improperly influence data collection and interpretation during practical work, in order to provoke emotional responses and subsequent engagement with the science. The usefulness of this approach is borne out quantitatively by findings from a series of three randomized experiments (n,=,158) which show superior gains using this pedagogy that are still significant 2 and 3 years after the initial treatment. In addition, pupils who experienced more intense emotions during treatment demonstrated the most gains after 6 weeks. This research is one element of a large-scale study of expectation-related observation in school science whose findings impact generally on the proper consideration of empirical evidence and the learning of science content. 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 47:151,173, 2010 [source]

Confronting assumptions, biases, and stereotypes in preservice teachers' conceptualizations of science teaching through the use of book club

Felicia Moore Mensah
Abstract This study focuses on the structure and theoretical foundations of the book club for promoting multicultural understandings in science teacher education. The book club was defined as an informal, peer-directed group discussion that met regularly to discuss an ethnographic, multicultural text regarding issues pertinent to science teaching and learning in urban classrooms. Twenty-three preservice teachers (PSTs) enrolled in a 16-week elementary science methods course at a large urban university participated in the study. From the qualitative analyses of PSTs' written reflections and researcher journal notes, five themes which emphasize Individual, Collaborative, and Collective learning are presented. These findings highlight how the book club structure and theoretical foundation fostered critical, reflective inquiry and served as a method for effecting ideological change which is needed in order to embrace issues of diversity in urban science education. Implications for science teacher education concerning the relevancy of pedagogical strategies, the use of multiple theoretical perspectives, and the book club as a strategy in teacher education and urban education are discussed. 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 46: 1041,1066, 2009 [source]

Real world contexts in PISA science: Implications for context-based science education

Peter J. Fensham
Abstract The PISA assessment instruments for students' scientific literacy in 2000, 2003, and 2006 have each consisted of units made up of a real world context involving Science and Technology, about which students are asked a number of cognitive and affective questions. This article discusses a number of issues from this use of S&T contexts in PISA and the implications they have for the current renewed interest in context-based science education. Suitably chosen contexts can engage both boys and girls. Secondary analyses of the students' responses using the contextual sets of items as the unit of analysis provides new information about the levels of performance in PISA 2006 Science. Embedding affective items in the achievement test did not lead to gender/context interactions of significance, and context interactions were less than competency ones. A number of implications for context-based science teaching and learning are outlined and the PISA 2006 Science test is suggested as a model for its assessment. 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 46: 884,896, 2009 [source]

Science teachers' perceptions of the school environment: Gender differences

Shwu-yong L. Huang
Abstract Because the school environment has been shown to play an important role in teacher and student performance, we undertook research into the assessment of school environment, differences between female and male science teachers' perceptions of their school environments, and associations between these school environment perceptions and teachers' background characteristics. Although gender differences in science education have attracted both public concern and academic interest, little research has specifically addressed this issue in terms of the school environment. Data were collected from a large sample of 300 female and 518 male science teachers from secondary schools in Taiwan. Statistically significant gender differences were found in most aspects of the school environment, with female science teachers perceiving greater collegiality among teachers, higher gender equity among students, and stronger professional interest, and with male science teachers perceiving lower work pressure and better teacher,student relations. Gender differences in science teachers' perceptions of collegiality, work pressure, and gender equity in the school environment persisted even after controlling for teachers' background and school characteristics. Among the implications are recommendations about administrative policy for improving the school environment for both male and female teachers and about future research on factors associated with teachers' perceptions. 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 46: 404,420, 2009 [source]

Representations of nature of science in high school chemistry textbooks over the past four decades

Fouad Abd-El-Khalick
Abstract This study assessed the representations of nature of science (NOS) in high school chemistry textbooks and the extent to which these representations have changed during the past four decades. Analyses focused on the empirical, tentative, inferential, creative, theory-driven, and social NOS, in addition to the myth of "The Scientific Method," the nature of scientific theories and laws, and the social and cultural embeddedness of science. A total of 14 textbooks, including five "series" spanning one to four decades, were analyzed. The textbooks commanded significant market shares in the United States and were widely used in some of the most populace states. Relevant textbook sections were scored on each of the target NOS aspects on a scale ranging from ,3 to +3, which reflected the accuracy, completeness, and manner (explicit versus implicit) in which these aspects were addressed. The textbooks fared poorly in their representations of NOS. Additionally, with a few exceptions, textbook scores either did not change or decreased over the past four decades. These trends are incommensurate with the discourse in national and international science education reform documents, which has witnessed an increasing emphasis on the centrality of NOS to scientific literacy and pre-college science education during the same time period. Assessment and evaluation strategies, and policies need to be targeted if substantial and desired changes in the ways NOS is addressed in science textbooks are to be effected. 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 45: 835,855, 2008 [source]

Socioscience and ethics in science classrooms: Teacher perspectives and strategies

Troy D. Sadler
This study explored teacher perspectives on the use of socioscientific issues (SSI) and on dealing with ethics in the context of science instruction. Twenty-two middle and high school science teachers from three US states participated in semi-structured interviews, and researchers employed inductive analyses to explore emergent patterns relative to the following two questions. (1) How do science teachers conceptualize the place of ethics in science and science education? (2) How do science teachers handle topics with ethical implications and expression of their own values in their classrooms? Profiles were developed to capture the views and reported practices, relative to the place of ethics in science and science classrooms, of participants. Profile A comprising teachers who embraced the notion of infusing science curricula with SSI and cited examples of using controversial topics in their classes. Profile B participants supported SSI curricula in theory but reported significant constraints which prohibited them from actualizing these goals. Profile C described teachers who were non-committal with respect to focusing instruction on SSI and ethics. Profile D was based on the position that science and science education should be value-free. Profile E transcended the question of ethics in science education; these teachers felt very strongly that all education should contribute to their students' ethical development. Participants also expressed a wide range of perspectives regarding the expression of their own values in the classroom. Implications of this research for science education are discussed. 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 43: 353,376, 2006 [source]

Conceptual boundaries and distances: Students' and experts' concepts of the scale of scientific phenomena

Thomas R. Tretter
To reduce curricular fragmentation in science education, reform recommendations include using common, unifying themes such as scaling to enhance curricular coherence. This study involved 215 participants from five groups (grades 5, 7, 9, and 12, and doctoral students), who completed written assessments and card sort tasks related to their conceptions of size and scale, and then completed individual interviews. Results triangulated from the data sources revealed the boundaries between and characteristics of scale size ranges that are well distinguished from each other for each group. Results indicate that relative size information was more readily understood than exact size, and significant size landmarks were used to anchor this relational web of scales. The nature of past experiences situated along two dimensions,from visual to kinesthetic in one dimension, and wholistic to sequential in the other,were shown to be key to scale cognition development. Commonalities and differences between the groups are highlighted and discussed. 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 43: 282,319, 2006 [source]

Exploring alternative conceptions from Newtonian dynamics and simple DC circuits: Links between item difficulty and item confidence

Maja Planinic
Croatian 1st-year and 3rd-year high-school students (N,=,170) completed a conceptual physics test. Students were evaluated with regard to two physics topics: Newtonian dynamics and simple DC circuits. Students answered test items and also indicated their confidence in each answer. Rasch analysis facilitated the calculation of three linear measures: (a) an item-difficulty measure based upon all responses, (b) an item-confidence measure based upon correct student answers, and (c) an item-confidence measure based upon incorrect student answers. Comparisons were made with regard to item difficulty and item confidence. The results suggest that Newtonian dynamics is a topic with stronger students' alternative conceptions than the topic of DC circuits, which is characterized by much lower students' confidence on both correct and incorrect answers. A systematic and significant difference between mean student confidence on Newtonian dynamics and DC circuits items was found in both student groups. Findings suggest some steps for physics instruction in Croatia as well as areas of further research for those in science education interested in additional techniques of exploring alternative conceptions. 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 43: 150,171, 2006 [source]