Middle school predictors of science persistence

International Center for the Advancement of Scientific Literacy, Chicago Academy of Science, Chicago, Illinois 60614
Journal of Research in Science Teaching (Impact Factor: 2.64). 09/1994; 31(7):721 - 734. DOI: 10.1002/tea.3660310705


Very little research has been conducted to determine whether instructional practices experienced by young adolescents have lasting effects that can be connected to persistence in the study of science years later. The current study examined the question of whether variables associated with middle school classroom practices and instructional emphasis would contribute to a prediction of science course placement in the 11th grade. A LISREL analysis was performed to create a model that ties middle school classroom experiences to later course placement. Variables associated with a holistic approach to science and with clarity of presentation were retained in the final model.

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    • "Druva and Anderson [27] found that student outcomes were related to the science training of teachers. Several researchers found that secondary students' pupils' perception that a teacher finds the subject matter interesting may enhance pupils' interest and their later decisions about future course selection [28]; [29]; [30]. George and Kaplan [4] showed that students' attitudes are influenced by science experiments and activities that are related to teacher professional preparation. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the attitudes and achievements 13/14-year-old pupils’ in palaeontology with respect to school type, gender and pupils’ perception of palaeontology teacher. Palaeontology provides important evidence to support the theory of evolution thus it is important for science educator to understand the attitudes held by their pupils in this science topic. A factor analysis applied to a 23 Likert-type palaeontology attitude questionnaire extracted five independent factors that represent pupils’ school and out of school attitudes, attitudes to future career in palaeontology and perception of teacher’s involvement in palaeontology. A spider type concept map was designed to examine pupils’ understanding of prehistoric life in the main geological eras. It was found that grammar school pupils palaeontology and also had better achievement when compared to elementary school pupils. Perception of a teacher were shown to exert showed only a weak effect on pupils’ attitudes, but the same variable, teacher attitude, strongly influenced pupils’ achievement. Differences caused according to the gender of the showed a weak tendency for a better score in attitudes and better score in achievement for females. These results imply that the greater the teacher’s involvement in science the more positively influenced is the pupils’ learning outcomes and the stronger the link between teacher and pupils’ interest results in a positive influences on pupils’ attitudes.
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    • "As seen in Table 2, the means are increasing with increasing economic background. This finding receives some indirect support from Gallagher (1994) regarding middle school students' performance on basic science process skills and the finding of many previous studies on the link between students' economic background and science performance (Blosser,I 1994). No studies in literature have reported that differences in students' basic science process skills performance were linked to the education background of their mother, the number of their family. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this research is to determine Turkish primary school second grade students’ level of performance on basic science process skills and weather there are statically significant differences in their performance linked to their gender, grade level, economic background, the education background of their mother, the number of family. Data were collected with the authors’ constructed basic science process skills test. The test is comprised 10 items related to observing, classifying, measuring metrically, inferring, predicting and communication. The results indicated that the subjects’ mean score was not low but not satisfactory. However, there was a positive relationship between their performance and their gender, grade level, economic background, the education background of their mother, the number of family.
    Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 12/2009; 1(1):544-548. DOI:10.1016/j.sbspro.2009.01.098
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    • "A body of empirical research describing the relationship between psychological-social aspects of the classroom and students' interest in science is growing. Evidence exists to support the claim that, on average, students in classrooms with strong social environmental characteristics, such as high involvement, peer affiliation, and competition, do manifest more positive attitudes toward science than do students in classroom with low measures of these social characteristics (Fouts & Myers, 1992; Gallagher, 1994; Kahle, Matyas, & Cho, 1985; Talton & Simpson, 1987; Yager & Yager, 1985). However, Roth (1996) found that the diffusion of the various forms of knowledge occurred at different rates and in different forms in early adolescent student groups. "
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    ABSTRACT: The U.S. is investing millions of dollars each year on developing resources to inspire students to pursue science. To assure that these investments are meeting the educational systems' goals it is important to understand the strength of relationships among the types of resources used in middle school science and levels of student interest in pursuing science careers. Is using information from outside the classroom---through human and web resources---in science class related to middle school students' level of interest in science careers? Is using human and/or web resources predictive of boys' science career interest...of girls'? Is using web resources in the science predictive of science career interests for those students who are or are not pre-disposed to pursuing science? This study investigated the types of resources used regularly in the science based on their sociableness, providing supportive information through human and nonhuman resources, and webnicity, the interconnectedness of supportive information. There were four major findings. First, there was a significant relationship between the use of human and web resources and high science career interests for middle school students. Second, the use of human resources during science was predictive of both boys' and girls' science career interests. The use of web resources during science was only predictive of girls' science career interests. The use of both human and web resources together was predictive of high science career interests for girls', but not predictive for boys'. Third, when web resources were used there were stronger relationships among several student characteristics and science career interests. Fourth, in classrooms where teachers did not have science degrees, the use of web resources was predictive of higher student science career interest. Understanding these relationships can help educators develop and secure resources that empirically have been shown to be predictive of high science career interest. This may help reduce the risk that large investments in new educational resources will go unmatched in student outcomes. The results of this study confirmed that students in this sample who were exposed to resources high in sociableness and high in webnicity had higher interests in science careers.
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