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Depth Versus Breadth: How Content Coverage in High School Science Courses Relates to Later Success in College Science Coursework

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Abstract

This study relates the performance of college students in introductory science courses to the amount of content covered in their high school science courses. The sample includes 8310 students in introductory biology, chemistry, or physics courses in 55 randomly chosen U.S. colleges and universities. Students who reported covering at least 1 major topic in depth, for a month or longer, in high school were found to earn higher grades in college science than did students who reported no coverage in depth. Students reporting breadth in their high school course, covering all major topics, did not appear to have any advantage in chemistry or physics and a significant disadvantage in biology. Care was taken to account for significant covariates: socioeconomic variables, English and mathematics proficiency, and rigor of their preparatory high science course. Alternative operationalizations of depth and breadth variables result in very similar findings. We conclude that teachers should use their judgment to reduce coverage in high school science courses and aim for mastery by extending at least 1 topic in depth over an extended period of time. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed93:798–826, 2009

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... Allocating our resources to check just a few suppliers (depth search) allow us to learn detailed information but only from a few, at the risk of neglecting potentially much better ones. Striking the right balance between breadth and depth is critical in countless other endeavours such as when selecting which courses to register in college (Schwartz et al., 2009) or developing marketing strategies (Turner et al., 1955). Its implications are far reaching when it comes to understand behaviours on the internet, where breadth and depth search has been related to navigation through lists of search results (Klöckner et al., 2004) or web site menus (Miller, 1991). ...
... In some real-life situations, however, feedback about the quality of the allocation is necessarily delayed. This happens for instance in problems such as investing (Blanchet-Scalliet et al., 2008;Reilly et al., 2016), choosing college (Schwartz et al., 2009) or, in ant colonies, sending scouts for exploration (Pratt et al., 2002); feedback can come after seconds, days, or even years. As resources should then be allocated beforehand, the dynamic aspect of the allocation is less relevant. ...
... Experimentally, BD trade-offs have been studied outside cognitive neuroscience (Halpert, 1958;Schwartz et al., 2009;Turner et al., 1955), mostly by using choice menus of different nature. However, this research does not address whether allocation policies used by humans are rational nor they parametrically manipulate an agent's capacity or the difficulty of the environment. ...
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Many everyday life decisions require allocating finite resources, such as attention or time, to examine multiple available options, like choosing an online food supplier. In these cases, our search resources can be spread across many options (breadth) or focused on a few of them (depth). Whilst theoretical work has described how finite resources should be allocated to maximise utility in these problems, evidence about how humans balance breadth and depth is lacking. We introduce a novel experimental paradigm where humans make a many-alternative decision under finite resources. In an imaginary scenario, participants allocate a finite budget to sample amongst multiple apricot suppliers in order to estimate the quality of their fruits, and ultimately choose the best one. We found that at low budget capacity participants sample as many suppliers as possible, and thus prefer breadth, whereas at high capacities participants sample just a few chosen alternatives in depth, and intentionally ignore the rest. The number of alternatives sampled increases with capacity following a power law with an exponent close to 0.75. In richer environments, where good outcomes are more likely, humans further favour depth. Participants deviate from optimality and tend to allocate capacity amongst the selected alternatives more homogeneously than it would be optimal, but the impact on the outcome is small. Overall, our results undercover a rich phenomenology of close-to-optimal behaviour and biases in complex choices.
... We characterize the optimal branching factor b * using Eqs. (13,5,14) described in Sect. "Discounted setting" of the Methods (see Fig. 10a for a scheme of the discounted algorithm) as a function of the sampling capacity C and discount γ. ...
... Results are obtained with the theoretical predictions by Eqs. (5,13,14) in Sect. "Discounted setting"and Eqs. ...
... As before, iterating the diffusion and maximization steps in Eqs. (5,13) with initial conditions P(J 1 ) described above allows us to compute V d,b,q,γ = E(J d ) , which is the value of playing a tree of depth d, branching factor b, perlevel sampling probabilities q and survival probability γ . As the agent is limited by the finite sampling capacity described in Eq. (6), the optimal b and q are found by subject to the capacity constraint in Eq. (6) and for a given γ. ...
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Many decisions involve choosing an uncertain course of action in deep and wide decision trees, as when we plan to visit an exotic country for vacation. In these cases, exhaustive search for the best sequence of actions is not tractable due to the large number of possibilities and limited time or computational resources available to make the decision. Therefore, planning agents need to balance breadth—considering many actions in the first few tree levels—and depth—considering many levels but few actions in each of them—to allocate optimally their finite search capacity. We provide efficient analytical solutions and numerical analysis to the problem of allocating finite sampling capacity in one shot to infinitely large decision trees, both in the time discounted and undiscounted cases. We find that in general the optimal policy is to allocate few samples per level so that deep levels can be reached, thus favoring depth over breadth search. In contrast, in poor environments and at low capacity, it is best to broadly sample branches at the cost of not sampling deeply, although this policy is marginally better than deep allocations. Our results can provide a theoretical foundation for why human reasoning is pervaded by imagination-based processes.
... Allocating our resources to check just a few suppliers (depth search) allow us to learn detailed information but only from a few, at the risk of neglecting relevant ones. Striking the right balance between breadth and depth is critical in countless daily life endeavours such as when selecting which courses to register in college (Schwartz et al., 2009) or developing marketing strategies (Turner et al., 2002). Its implications are far reaching when it comes to understand behaviours in the internet, where breadth and depth-search has been related to navigation through lists of results (Klöckner et al., 2004) or web site menus (Miller, 1981). ...
... In some real-life situations, however, feedback about the quality of the allocation is necessarily delayed. This happens for instance in problems such as investing (Blanchet-Scalliet et al., 2008;Reilly et al., 2016), choosing college (Schwartz et al., 2009) or, in ant colonies, sending scouts for exploration (Pratt et al., 2002); feedback can come after seconds, days or even years. As resources should then be allocated beforehand, the dynamic aspect of the allocation is less relevant. ...
... Experimentally, BD trade-offs have been studied outside cognitive neuroscience (Halpert, 1958;Schwartz et al., 2009;Turner et al., 2002), mostly by using choice menus of different nature. However, this research does not address whether allocation policies used by humans are rational nor they parametrically manipulate an agent's capacity or the difficulty of the environment. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many everyday life decisions require allocating finite resources, such as attention or time, to examine multiple available options, like choosing an online food supplier. In these cases, our search resources can be spread across many options (breadth) or focused on a few of them (depth). Whilst theoretical work has described how finite resources should be allocated to maximise utility in these problems, evidence about how humans balance breadth and depth is lacking. We introduce a novel experimental paradigm where humans make a many-alternative decision under finite resources. In an imaginary scenario, participants allocate a finite budget to sample amongst multiple apricot suppliers in order to estimate the quality of their fruits, and ultimately choose the best one. We found that at low budget capacity participants sample as many suppliers as possible, and thus prefer breadth, whereas at high capacities participants sample just a few chosen alternatives in depth, and intentionally ignore the rest. The number of alternatives sampled increases with capacity following a power law with an exponent close to 0.75. In richer environments, where good outcomes are more likely, humans further favour depth. Participants deviate from optimality and tend to allocate capacity amongst the selected alternatives more homogeneously than it would be optimal, but the impact on the outcome is small. Overall, our results undercover a rich phenomenology of close-to-optimal behaviour and biases in complex choices.
... However, in the subset of student performance studied longitudinally, it did not appear as a significant factor. These findings are consistent with Anderton, Hines and Joyce (2017), who stated "students who completed physical sciences (Chemistry & Physics) were shown to have significantly higher GPAs than those students who did not complete these subjects; and similar previous literature by Schwartz, Sadler, Sonnert and Tai (2008) as well as Manny et al. (2019). ...
... The impact of physical science on tertiary health science academic performance is believed to be due to a combination of the methods used to teach these subjects (Schwartz et al., 2008) and the content itself (Vitali et al. 2020). For example, Chemistry and Physics subjects are considered to be taught in 'depth' with the aim of students developing advanced understanding of key and specific concepts, whereas other science subjects such as Biology, are taught in 'breadth' which provides a wide, general understanding of concepts. ...
... For example, Chemistry and Physics subjects are considered to be taught in 'depth' with the aim of students developing advanced understanding of key and specific concepts, whereas other science subjects such as Biology, are taught in 'breadth' which provides a wide, general understanding of concepts. In keeping with this idea, it has been suggested that broader coverage of course content leads to negative university performance, when compared to more focussed subjects taught within a discipline that encourages the development of a deeper understanding of the structure of the discipline (Schwartz et al., 2008). Completion of both Physics and Chemistry significantly impact positively on first year academic performance in tertiary health science courses independently, however from the findings of this study this effect does not appear to continue across the duration of the degree for either subject. ...
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Tertiary institutions are experiencing an increased number of enrolments, with students varying in their demographics, previous education, and academic achievement. This relative increase in undergraduate enrolments in Australia has not translated to an increase in student retention or graduate numbers. This prompts the need to explore predictors of academic performance for tertiary students to identify those most at risk of underperforming. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between secondary school subject completion and undergraduate grade point average (GPA). A cohort of 709 secondary school students entering undergraduate health science courses between 2012 and 2015 at an Australian university were investigated. Completion of Mathematics 3C3D, Physics, Chemistry and Physical Education Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) subjects were significantly associated with GPA. In a subset of 458 students, longitudinal analysis revealed completion of secondary school Mathematics 3C3D was a significant predictor of academic performance over the duration of the tertiary health science courses. The results suggest that completion of advanced secondary school mathematics, but not physical sciences, is predictive of student achievement. This outcome further supports the need for improved uptake and completion of advanced mathematics in secondary school.
... Comparisons to international standards have tended to show that standards in the United States are much broader than those in countries that demonstrate the highest performance on international assessments (Schmidt et al., 2005). Other work, while tending to focus on the upper grade levels and higher education, has shown advantages to instruction that provides more depth as opposed to breadth of content coverage in science (Eylon & Linn, 1988;Sadler & Tai, 2001;Schwartz, Sadler, Sonnert, & Tai, 2009). As a result, an emphasis on the need for more depth in science instruction has been a part of various policy documents during the past several decades, including the National Research Council's National Science Education Standards in the late 1990s and more recently as a part of NGSS (NGSS, 2013b;Schwartz et al., 2009). ...
... Other work, while tending to focus on the upper grade levels and higher education, has shown advantages to instruction that provides more depth as opposed to breadth of content coverage in science (Eylon & Linn, 1988;Sadler & Tai, 2001;Schwartz, Sadler, Sonnert, & Tai, 2009). As a result, an emphasis on the need for more depth in science instruction has been a part of various policy documents during the past several decades, including the National Research Council's National Science Education Standards in the late 1990s and more recently as a part of NGSS (NGSS, 2013b;Schwartz et al., 2009). For example, NGSS describe a focus on disciplinary core ideas as focusing on "a limited set of ideas and practices" rather than teaching "all the facts" (NGSS, 2013b). ...
... Similarly, they point to international assessments and studies that demonstrate higher science performance among countries where depth of science content covered (fewer topics, covered in more detail) is the standard practice (Schmidt et al., 2005). This has led to an emphasis on more depth in instruction in various national policy documents during the past several decades (NGSS, 2013b;Schwartz et al., 2009). ...
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Recent evidence points to the early elementary grades as a pivotal point for the development of science learning trajectories and achievement gaps. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, this study estimates the degree to which time spent on science and the breadth of science topics/skills covered predict science achievement in the earliest grades of elementary school. Using regression along with school fixed effects and student fixed effects models, we find suggestive evidence in some models (student fixed effects and regression with observable controls) that time on science instruction is related to science achievement but little evidence that the number of science topics/skills covered are related to greater science achievement. These results are generally consistent across student subgroups. We discuss the implications for early science policy and practice.
... The term CB refers to the need for exposure to a wide variety of topics in the scientific disciplines (Schwartz et al. 2008). Li, Klahr and Siler (2006) indicate that CB refers to the scope or number of topics covered whereas CD refers to the deeper coverage of fundamental concepts that are beneficial to master (Schwartz et al. 2008). ...
... The term CB refers to the need for exposure to a wide variety of topics in the scientific disciplines (Schwartz et al. 2008). Li, Klahr and Siler (2006) indicate that CB refers to the scope or number of topics covered whereas CD refers to the deeper coverage of fundamental concepts that are beneficial to master (Schwartz et al. 2008). Teaching to develop deeper understanding upholds the view that certain fundamental concepts need to be taught and given greater attention. ...
... Teaching to develop deeper understanding upholds the view that certain fundamental concepts need to be taught and given greater attention. Students who have a deeper understanding of fewer scientific concepts in high school have actually shown greater success in college science coursework (Schwartz et al. 2008). Hirsch (2001) suggests that the best way to learn a subject is to move from broader knowledge, which is breadth, to deeper knowledge. ...
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The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of the university curriculum in preparing pre-service technology teachers. The study examines the course guide of the technology education course at one of the universities of technology in South Africa in relation to grades 7-9 (senior phase) of the technology policy document. The study found that the university technology curriculum places emphasis on both content breadth (CB) and content strands (CS). However, some of the CSs in the university technology curriculum have no relevance to the CB and were not designed to enhance its depth. Therefore, this means that the CSs of the university technology curriculum were not designed to focus on the notion of 'fitness-for-purpose' which is market driven. However, it is imperative that students be given an opportunity to explore both CB and content depth (CD) as well as how other CSs can be used to develop a deeper understanding of CB. Résumé Le but de cette étude est d'examiner l'efficacité du programme universitaire de formation initiale des professeurs de technologie. Il s'agit d'un examen du guide pédagogique de technologie utilisé dans une des universités de technolo-gie en Afrique du Sud, notamment par rapport aux années 7-9 (cycle supérieur) du document de politique technologique. L'étude a révélé que le programme
... In addition to performance at the university, the prior preparation of students has been demonstrated to effect outcomes at the university [11,15,[25][26][27]. Seymour [11] found that many students believed their high school STEM education provided little to no preparation for the university. ...
... Reasons for this lack of preparation included that high school was too easy for these students, that "gifted" students often times were not taught study skills, that students experienced gender discrimination, and that the student's high school lacked resources. Teaching and learning in high school physics has also been linked to performance in university physics and STEM leaving [11,15,25,27]. Students who took high school physics courses that focused on "deep and narrow coverage" outperformed students who took "broad and shallow" courses in their university physics courses [15,25,27]. ...
... Teaching and learning in high school physics has also been linked to performance in university physics and STEM leaving [11,15,25,27]. Students who took high school physics courses that focused on "deep and narrow coverage" outperformed students who took "broad and shallow" courses in their university physics courses [15,25,27]. Ultimately, Seymour [11] noted that students "complain, with good reason, that they had no way to know how poorly they were prepared." ...
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Physics education research (PER) has used quantitative modeling techniques to explore learning, affect, and other aspects of physics education. However, these studies have rarely examined the predictive output of the models, instead focusing on the inferences or causal relationships observed in various data sets. This research introduces a modern predictive modeling approach to the PER community using transcript data for students declaring physics majors at Michigan State University. Using a machine learning model, this analysis demonstrates that students who switch from a physics degree program to an engineering degree program do not take the third semester course in thermodynamics and modern physics, and may take engineering courses while registered as a physics major. Performance in introductory physics and calculus courses, measured by grade as well as a students’ declared gender and ethnicity play a much smaller role relative to the other features included in the model. These results are used to compare traditional statistical analysis to a more modern modeling approach.
... In addition to performance at the university, the prior preparation of students has been demonstrated to effect outcomes at the university [2,4,[17][18][19]. Seymour [2] found that many students believed their high school STEM education provided little to no preparation for the university. ...
... Reasons for this lack of preparation included that high school was too easy for these students, that "gifted" students often times were not taught study skills, that students experienced gender discrimination, and that the student's high school lacked resources. Teaching and learning in high school physics has also been linked to performance in university physics and STEM leaving [2,4,17,19]. Students who took high school physics courses that focused on "deep and narrow coverage" outperformed students who took "broad and shallow" courses in their university physics courses [4,17,19]. ...
... Teaching and learning in high school physics has also been linked to performance in university physics and STEM leaving [2,4,17,19]. Students who took high school physics courses that focused on "deep and narrow coverage" outperformed students who took "broad and shallow" courses in their university physics courses [4,17,19]. Ultimately, Seymour [2] noted that students "complain, with good reason, that they had no way to know how poorly they were prepared." Thus, high performance in certain high school contexts can be a predictor of leaving STEM in university. ...
Preprint
The majority of students who register as a physics major do not end up earning a physics degree. While there have been numerous studies of how students leave STEM, our understanding of the process by which students earn degrees in physics is understudied. Developing a knowledge about which factors might act as precursors for students switching in and out of a physics major can help us develop a better understanding of how students navigate the complicated University environment, and ultimately lead to data-driven approaches to undergraduate advising. Using a machine learning model (Random Forest classification), this paper demonstrates that students who switch from a physics degree program to an engineering degree program do not take the third semester course in thermodynamics and modern physics, and may take engineering courses while registered as a physics major. Performance in introductory physics and calculus courses as well as a students' declared gender and ethnicity play much smaller roles in the model. This work uses registrar data captured by Michigan State University.
... Faculty also conflate the terms "teaching" and "learning": that is, they assume if they teach (cover) the content, students have learned the content. Research indicates that covering more content dilutes students' attention and encourages surface learning strategies (Schwartz et al., 2008). In effect, the more time the instructor tells students what they need to know, the less time students will have to actively engage in the material, which again encourages surface learning (Schwartz et al., 2008). ...
... Research indicates that covering more content dilutes students' attention and encourages surface learning strategies (Schwartz et al., 2008). In effect, the more time the instructor tells students what they need to know, the less time students will have to actively engage in the material, which again encourages surface learning (Schwartz et al., 2008). This essay therefore relies on the premise that adoption of constructivist pedagogies can improve student learning by encouraging students to construct their own mental model of the problem or concept. ...
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This essay examines what is necessary for business school professors to encourage deeper learning in their students. Business faculty (and academia in general) are improving student involvement by using pedagogies of engagement (e.g., problem-based learning, team-based learning, POGIL) or integrating techniques that improve engagement (e.g., flipped classes, reflective writing). Adoption of these approaches is a step forward, but little has been written about the specific factors across techniques and pedagogies that can actually deepen learning. This essay utilizes a seven-point framework for deeper learning, applies it to the teaching of managerial decision-making, and makes recommendations for fostering deeper learning among business school students. The authors cite specific examples of business school teaching that illustrate traditional methods and deeper learning methods. The goal of this paper, therefore, is to present seven factors (Ambrose, et al., 2010) that work to deepen student learning—independent of any specific pedagogy or adopted technique. These solutions span across any business school discipline and can be easily integrated into a college class to foster deeper learning.
... The dilemma that arises then is how to allocate limited search resources over large decision trees: should we consider many countries for our next vacation (breadth), at the cost of not evaluating very thoroughly any of them, or should we consider very few countries more deeply (depth), at the risk of missing the most exciting one? The above problem is one example of the so-called breadth-depth (BD) dilemma, important in tree search algorithms [1,2], optimizing menu designs [3], decision-making [4,5,6], knowledge management [7] and education [8]. ...
... Random policies allocate samples with the same probability to every node of the tree of depth d and also satisfy the finite capacity constraint, Eq. (6). Optimal policies and values for heterogeneous and for homogeneous selective allocations are computed using Eqs.(4,5,7) and Eqs.(4,5,8) for p = 1 2 , respectively, inside a gradient ascent (see Sec.2 of the Methods). For different p results are similar. ...
Preprint
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Many decisions involve choosing an uncertain course of actions in deep and wide decision trees, as when we plan to visit an exotic country for vacation. In these cases, exhaustive search for the best sequence of actions is not tractable due to the large number of possibilities and limited time or computational resources available to make the decision. Therefore, planning agents need to balance breadth (exploring many actions at each level of the tree) and depth (exploring many levels in the tree) to allocate optimally their finite search capacity. We provide efficient analytical solutions and numerical analysis to the problem of allocating finite sampling capacity in one shot to large decision trees. We find that in general the optimal policy is to allocate few samples per level so that deep levels can be reached, thus favoring depth over breadth search. In contrast, in poor environments and at low capacity, it is best to broadly sample branches at the cost of not sampling deeply, although this policy is marginally better than deep allocations. Our results provide a theoretical foundation for the optimality of deep imagination for planning and show that it is a generally valid heuristic that could have evolved from the finite constraints of cognitive systems.
... 28 Schwartz et al. sampled over 8000 students from STEM courses at 55 colleges and universities. 29 They found that high school students who spent at least 1 month on at least one major topic earned higher grades in college science than students who reported no in-depth instruction. High school students who experienced breadth over depth in biology did significantly worse in college biology courses. ...
... Schwartz et al. demonstrated the longterm benefits of adhering to Vision and Change recommendations of core concepts and competencies, summarized by the expression "less is more". 29 Perhaps the most common active learning approach that focuses on student learning outside the classroom is the flipped class. 21, 22 Bowles described a series of interventions that prepared students for classroom engagement to enhance their understanding. ...
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Many molecular biology and biochemistry instructors have altered their classroom behavior in favor of evidence-based, active learning instructional strategies. Overwhelming evidence confirms that lecture-only classrooms are detrimental to student learning outcomes, but we know less about the impact textbooks have on students outside the classroom. Two influential projects, the AP Biology redesign and Vision and Change, called for extensive restructuring of course content and hoped that textbooks would be restructured accordingly. This study evaluated all figures and tables from two introductory biology textbooks to quantify how well they implement recommendations from Vision and Change and AP Biology redesign. We documented significant differences among figures and tables when looking for experimental data, questions for students to answer, and quantitative interpretation. Using think-aloud interviews, we interrogated whether students engage differently with figures from the two textbooks. When figures provided take-home messages, students relied on written text rather than analyzing the graphical information for their understanding. Students frequently employed words from summaries within the figures to construct "inflated explanations" that mimicked comprehension.
... The "breadth" view encourages teachers to cover the widest range of concepts that can be included in standardised tests. The "depth" view encourages teachers to teach fundamental concepts at a deeper level rather than covering many other concepts as well but at a more superficial level [35]. Schwartz et al. carried out an empirical study to relate the performance of 8310 college students in introductory science courses in 55 colleges/universities in the United States to the amount of content covered in their high school science courses [35]. ...
... The "depth" view encourages teachers to teach fundamental concepts at a deeper level rather than covering many other concepts as well but at a more superficial level [35]. Schwartz et al. carried out an empirical study to relate the performance of 8310 college students in introductory science courses in 55 colleges/universities in the United States to the amount of content covered in their high school science courses [35]. The main conclusion was that "a robust positive association exists between high school science teaching that provides depth in at least one topic and better performance in introductory postsecondary science courses". ...
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Content Knowledge (CK) is certainly required for teachers, but just CK is not enough for them to handle cognitive complexity of science teaching; CK cannot simply be "handed over" to students. Teachers need Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) enabling them to transform their CK into different forms of representation (e.g. analogies, illustrations, examples, explanations, and demonstrations), which are comprehensible for students. Integration of technology in school science, on the one hand, can enrich PCK of teachers because it generates new forms of conceptual representation. On the other hand, it requires teachers to develop Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK). Teachers' TPCK is mostly emerged from their try-outs of technology-integrated science teaching and refined from their students' feedback in the classroom. Development of TPCK occurs over the career trajectory, in which events for Professional Development (PD) of teachers on TPCK are just starting or enrichment points. A training course is a common PD initiative to support teachers to improve their TPCK, but the "training" model has shortcomings regarding teacher's use of new knowledge and skills (via training) in teaching practice. In this article, we clarify the TPCK framework, which will shed light to how teachers' TPCK grows throughout their career. Furthermore, we discuss ways to remedy the shortcomings of the "training" scenario, aiming at an effective training course on TPCK for science teachers.
... Some instructors may fear that student performance on formal assessments will be negatively impacted by gaps in their factual knowledge. However, studies indicate that this approach focusing on depth shows no decrease in performance, but rather an improvement in many cases (Schwartz et al., 2009;Luckie et al., 2012;Kogan and Laursen, 2014;Connell et al., 2016). Luckie et al. (2012) have shown in an introductory college biology laboratory course that reducing the amount of factual content while providing students with a thorough understanding of the remaining content through increased inquiry learning resulted in improved performance on standardized exams, even when the exams included questions on content that had not been covered in class. ...
... In math courses, Kogan and Laursen (2014) reported that students who participated in inquiry-based learning sections, where less material was covered than in traditionally taught sections, displayed no negative effects on performance in later math courses and, in some cases, outperformed students from the traditional sections. A study by Schwartz et al. (2009) has shown that better student performance in introductory college science courses (biology, chemistry, and physics) is associated with participation in high school science courses (biology, chemistry, and physics) that address a few core topics in depth rather than many topics. Additionally, they found that decreased student performance in introductory college biology courses correlates with participation in high school courses that focus on covering a breadth of material. ...
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Instructors have inherited a model for conscientious instruction that suggests they must cover all the material outlined in their syllabus, and yet this model frequently diverts time away from allowing students to engage meaningfully with the content during class. We outline the historical forces that may have conditioned this teacher-centered model as well as the disciplinary pressures that inadvertently reward it. As a way to guide course revision and move to a learner-centered teaching approach, we propose three evidence-based strategies that instructors can adopt: 1) identify the core concepts and competencies for your course; 2) create an organizing framework for the core concepts and competencies; and 3) teach students how to learn in your discipline. We further outline examples of actions that instructors can incorporate to implement each of these strategies. We propose that moving from a content-coverage approach to these learner-centered strategies will help students better learn and retain information and apply it to new situations.
... El proceso descrito anteriormente se conoce como modelización, y su desarrollo exige toda una gama de capacidades descritas por Lopes y Costa (2007). En esta línea los avances de diversos autores han aportado esquemas destinados a orientar los procesos de modelización (Gilbert y Justi, 2016;Halloun, 2004;Merino e Izquierdo-Aymerich, 2011;Schwartz, Sadler, Sonnert y Tai, 2009 El modelo eléctrico que los estudiantes construyen intuitivamente en la inducción electromagnética coincide con el modelo Effluvia, desarrollado por Gilbert en el siglo XVI. Desde este modelo interpretativo, la atracción de objetos pequeños es una propiedad de los cuerpos que se activaría cuando se frota con cuerpos eléctricos como el vidrio o el ámbar. ...
... A continuación, ellos evaluaron el ajuste de su modelo al fenómeno, contrastando sus ideas con las de sus pares. Después los estudiantes revisaron sus modelos mejorando ciertos aspectos, y finalmente, aplicaron sus modelos explicando nuevos fenómenos favoreciendo la transferencia (Schwartz et al., 2009). ...
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Los currículos de Ciencias señalan la relevancia de comprender los fenómenos eléctricos, debido a las múltiples aplicaciones tecnológicas actuales basadas en la electricidad. Sin embargo, los estudiantes tienen dificultades para comprender la naturaleza electromagnética de la materia, y se requieren evidencias empíricas de las formas en que las ideas de los estudiantes se van transformando a medida que adquieren experiencia y conocimiento conceptual sobre electricidad. Este estudio se focaliza en el análisis de las explicaciones de estudiantes de secundaria sobre fenómenos eléctricos, con el propósito de caracterizar la evolución de sus modelos expresados durante una secuencia didáctica basada en fenómenos de electrización. La propuesta de análisis cualitativo, desde una perspectiva sistémica, identifica los componentes de estructura, proceso y control referidos por los 30 estudiantes de la muestra, en las explicaciones de cinco fenómenos observados, caracterizando la evolución del modelo eléctrico de los estudiantes. Nuestros resultados muestran que las trayectorias de aprendizaje de los estudiantes son poco convergentes y presentan discontinuidades. La descomposición del modelo eléctrico nos ha permitido evidenciar que los estudiantes construyen modelos limitados por los procesos observados, y tienen dificultades para transitar al nivel microscópico, lo que puede contribuir a orientar la selección de fenómenos por parte de los profesores para lograr procesos de modelización más efectivos.
... Reorientar el modelo didáctico es un proceso lento que requiere de la caracterización de la práctica docente, para luego enfocarse en la comprensión de las implicaciones didácticas de los cambios que se proponen (Furió y Carnicer, 2002). El desarrollo profesional docente debe ser producido de forma consciente por el profesor desde su propia epistemología profesional (Porlán et al., 1998). Este cambio debe ser conceptual, metodológico y actitudinal, a partir de la incorporación de nuevos modelos didácticos que van evolucionando mediante la reflexión y regulación de la práctica docente (Mellado, 2003). ...
... • Diagnóstico: El objetivo de esta etapa fue caracterizar la epistemología profesional de los profesores participantes. Para ello, diseñamos una estrategia metodológica cualitativa de triangulación de datos (Porlán et al., 1998). Durante el diagnóstico se aplicaron dos técnicas de recogida de datos: se identificaron las concepciones epistemológicas (visión de ciencia) y didácticas (visión de la enseñanza y el aprendizaje de las ciencias) de los docentes mediante un cuestionario (Martínez y González, 2014) y se exploró el grado de apropiación del ciclo constructivista de aprendizaje orientado a la modelización y el grado de desarrollo de habilidades científicas mediante el enfoque de aprendizaje en ciencias basado en indagación, por medio de actividades indagatorias, pautas de observación de clase y entrevistas semiestructuradas (Marzabal et al., 2014). ...
Conference Paper
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En este trabajo caracterizamos la incorporación del enfoque de modelización en el diseño de secuencias didácticas de un grupo de profesores de ciencias en ejercicio. Durante diversas instancias de reflexión, exploramos cómo los profesores van transformando su conceptualización del aprendizaje de las ciencias desde un enfoque orientado en la sustitución de las ideas erróneas, hacia un enfoque centrado en la evolución de los modelos iniciales de sus estudiantes. El proceso de apropiación se realizó mediante diversas oportunidades de interacción entre los profesores participantes, quienes de manera progresiva incorporaron en sus estrategias de enseñanza aquellos elementos que consideran plausibles y relevantes para abordar los desafíos que identifican en su propia acción docente.
... Educators often assume that prior coursework provides students with the necessary foundational knowledge for success in future courses. In support of this view, taking prior courses in a subject is often correlated with higher grades in future courses across STEM disciplines (Harlow, Harrison, and Meyertholen 2014;Loehr et al. 2012;Sadler and Tai 2001;Schwartz et al. 2009). Within the context of ES, one agricultural program reported that students who had completed at least one high school agriculture course were more likely to finish their college agriculture degree (Dyer, Breja, and Wittler 2002). ...
... We did not find evidence that a student's amount of prior ES-related coursework was correlated with their final ES course grade in the introductory courses surveyed. This outcome was surprising because prior coursework in a subject was shown to correlate with higher grades in future courses in other STEM fields (Harlow, Harrison, and Meyertholen 2014;Loehr et al. 2012;Sadler and Tai 2001;Schwartz et al. 2009). We offer several potential explanations for this contrasting result. ...
Article
This study explored the relationships between student background and academic performance in college introductory environmental science (ES) courses at a large U.S. research university with the premise that this analysis may inform teaching practices, curricula, and efforts to increase retention. We surveyed over 700 students across eleven introductory ES courses and used multiple linear mixed-effects regressions to model the data. We found that students who grew up in rural settings or who had frequent childhood interactions with natural environments earned higher grades, on average, than students from urban settings or with fewer childhood interactions with natural environments. Our results indicate that students reporting frequent childhood interactions with forests, for example, were projected to earn grades up to 1.5 letter grades higher in these courses than students with no such interactions. In addition, students with frequent childhood interactions with nature were likelier to report that such interactions helped them in their ES course, suggesting that these students may recognize the value of these experiences. Greater interest in the subject matter also correlated with higher ES course grades, whereas amount of prior ES coursework did not. We discuss the possible implications of these correlations for ES academic performance and educational practice.
... implied an excessive amount of content taught and learned within a limited time available for instruction. Another study showed that studying fewer topics at great depths helps understand concepts better (Schwartz et al., 2009). It improves student academic scores and enhances student satisfaction alleviating students' anxiety (Laird et al., 2008). ...
... • Content coverage: the depth (a broad range of subjects around a given focus topic) and breadth (the full span of knowledge of a subject) of the curriculum (Schwartz et al., 2009). The item for this dimension is "I think the instructor Frontiers in Psychology 03 frontiersin.org is well prepared for the course content and the content is applicable." ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic has robustly affected global education environments, so higher education institutions need to emphasize innovation and creativity in educational methods for teachers to improve their teaching performance as well as enhance the engagement and motivation of students in this changing environment. Accordingly, it is essential to discuss the role of teaching innovation in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the pre-COVID-19 period. The aim of this study is to empirically validate the importance of teaching innovation in student evaluation of teaching before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were collected from the medical college of a comprehensive university in Taiwan and were subjected to t -tests and multiple linear regression analysis. Findings from a quantitative study with 44 teachers revealed that teaching innovation was positively correlated to student evaluation of teaching. We also found that teachers who implemented teaching innovation strategies performed better than those teachers who used conventional teaching strategies on student evaluation of teaching. In particular, teaching innovative teachers had improvement in student evaluation of teaching during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, but not non-teaching innovative teachers. The evidence from this study suggests that teaching innovation can not only enhance teachers’ teaching development and performance but also boost students’ motivation for learning, especially in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our findings have important implications for future research on teaching innovation and for higher education institutions and faculty wishing to provide high-quality learning environments to their students.
... The traditional belief that aiming for in-depth training in a narrow area is superior to a broader but less-specialised training regime is still quite pervasive [4] (the proverbial 'Jack of all trades and master of none' argument). The issue with this view is that it assumes focussing on a specific field inherently provides depth, while a broader view is necessarily shallow. ...
Article
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The merits of a pedagogic and programmatic unification between physics and several engineering disciplines at the undergraduate level are discussed. Arguments for such a unification are presented, based on the strong overlap of core teaching material and the similarity of career trajectories in the modern job market for physics and engineering graduates. In addition to providing a level of robustness for academic institutions against external factors such as fluctuating student intake numbers, such a merger can also have positive dividends for increased inclusion of minority and female students in STEM fields. The widespread availability and affordability of advanced laboratory equipment, computing hardware/software and other technical infrastructure at the current time is also highlighted as a reason for the practical feasibility of this approach.
... • Design: Teachers designed activities that built on learners' experiences, knowledge and learning needs; they included long and short-term goals, were evidencebased, well planned and structured, combined facilitation types, and fostered higher order thinking and skills (Block et al., 2012). • Learning outcomes: Effective playful pedagogies covered depth not breadth, included multidimensional and integrated assessment, and allowed for some flexibility in implementation (Schwartz et al., 2009). • School, system and community: Supportive leadership and a whole of school approach to implementing playful pedagogies, including leadership support, planning, scheduling, time, physical space and resources are vital for success. ...
Article
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Learning through play has emerged as an important strategy to promote student engagement, inclusion, and holistic skills development beyond the preschool years. Policy makers, researchers and educators have promoted the notion that learning though play is developmentally appropriate—as it leverages school-age children’s innate curiosity while easing the often difficult transition from preschool to school. However, there is a dearth of evidence and practical guidance on how learning through play can be employed effectively in the formal school context, and the conditions that support success. This paper addresses the disconnect between policy, research and practice by presenting a range of empirical studies across a number of well-known pedagogies. These studies describe how children can foster cognitive, social, emotional, creative and physical skills through active engagement in learning that is experienced as joyful, meaningful, socially interactive, actively engaging and iterative. The authors propose an expanded definition for learning through play at school based on the science of learning, and summarize key findings from international studies on the impact of children’s learning through play. They identify four key challenges that underpin the considerable gap between education policy and practice, and propose a useful framework that addresses these challenges via a common language and structure to implement learning through play.
... This effort is supported by research that assesses student learning related to breadth and depth of content coverage. High school students who covered at least one major topic in depth for a month or longer earned higher grades in college biology than did students who reported no in-depth coverage (Schwartz et al., 2009). In addition, students experiencing surface-level breadth in their high school biology courses, covering all major topics, were at a significant disadvantage in college-level biology courses (Schwartz et al., 2008). ...
Article
Following professional development (PD), implementation of contemporary topics into high school biology requires teachers to make critical decisions regarding integration of novel content into existing course scope and sequence. Often exciting topics, such as neuroscience, do not perfectly align with standards. Despite commitment to enacting what was learned in the PD, teachers must adapt novel content to their perceptions of good teaching, local context, prior knowledge of their students, and state and district expectations. How teachers decide to integrate curricula encountered from PD programs may affect student outcomes. This mixed-methods study examined the relationship between curricular application strategies following an inquiry-based neuroscience PD and student learning. Post-PD curricular implementation was measured qualitatively through analysis of teacher action plans and classroom observations and quantitatively using hierarchical linear modeling to determine the impact of implementation on student performance. Participation in neuroscience PD predicted improved student learning compared with control teachers. Of the two distinct curricular implementation strategies, enacting a full unit produced significantly greater student learning than integrating neuroscience activities into existing biology units. Insights from this analysis should inform teacher implementation of new curricula after PD on other contemporary biology topics.
... Pre-service teachers who teach many lessons might learn less CK because they are on average confronted with a broader set of lesson content ('A mile wide an inch deep', cf. Schwartz et al., 2009) as opposed to pre-service teachers who teach just a few lessons but take more time to prepare them and reflect more deeply on the content. PK, on the other hand, might be more transferable from lesson to lesson, meaning that the pedagogical challenges related to a specific knowledge element (e.g. ...
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The process of reflection is assumed to be important for developing professional knowledge through practical experience in science teaching. However, this claim requires more evidence, based on a clear definition of reflection. The main goal of the present study is to explore how reflection skills influence the development of professional knowledge gained through teaching experience. Before and after a five-month field experience, we have measured pre-service physics teachers' professional knowledge and reflection skills (N = 94; 133 cases pre and post from four German universities). We also collected data for learning opportunities during the field experience (e.g. the number of taught lessons). The present study uses a novel standardized digital simulation of collaborative oral reflections to measure reflection skills (performance assessment), as a way of increasing validity compared to self-reports. The data have been analyzed using path analysis. The main results show that reflection skills before a field experience impact the development of content knowledge (β = 0.231*) and pedagogical knowledge (β = 0.354**) during the field experience. Regarding the learning opportunities during the field experiences, we develop the following evidence-based post-hoc hypothesis: the more pre-service science teachers are enculturated into a community of practical teachers, the less (academic) content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge they acquire during a field experience. Consequences for science teacher education will be discussed.
... Natural hazard and disaster topics are outlined broadly in the curriculum standards as physical geography with no mention of the physiological effects of disasters or feasible preparedness and mitigation practices appropriate for their ages (Texas Education Agency, 2010). Covering such material either briefly or in more depth is up to the teacher's discretion (Schwartz et al., 2009). As such, most of the study population may have lowered local hazard awareness due to a lack of previous natural hazards curriculum exposure. ...
Article
Risk perceptions can influence how people prepare, react, and respond to a natural hazard. For dependent populations with increased vulnerability, such as youth, adolescents, and young adults, hazard education programs can influence their risk perceptions and increase their hazard awareness. However, most school curriculum does not include in-depth formal natural hazards education; Texas curriculum in secondary schools, for example, does not typically cover local natural hazards or their impacts in-depth due to other curriculum priorities. Thus, students may not be receiving potentially life-saving information on their local natural hazards or how to plan for or respond to disasters. In response, this research presents a formal, online, and youth-centric natural hazard educational (NHE) curriculum that examines the curriculum’s effects on risk perception and subject matter proficiency using a local pilot study with college students as proxies for high school adolescents in Texas. Results suggest that the curriculum content improved overall natural hazards knowledge in participants (p < 0.01) and that participants with higher post-curriculum scores demonstrated higher risk perception and hazard awareness. These findings demonstrate how exposure to natural hazards educational programs can increase hazard awareness and coping capacity in young adults and adolescents.
... So, the physics teaching and learning process starts from understanding the qualitative concepts first and then it proceeds to the quantitative concepts in mathematics gradually. It should be conducted this way because the mathematics curriculum aims to improve the thinking skills rather than the content; on the other hand, the physics curriculum aims to improve the contents that have been studied in as a form of rapid scientific development that does not negate the importance of mathematics as a tool in physics (Murdock, 2008;Schwartz et al., 2009;Chiu, 2015). In addition, the mathematics curriculum emphasizes more on the improvement of in-depth content rather than the content flexibility. ...
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In a teaching and learning process, the mastery of mathematics would support students in learning physics. The aim of the research is to analyse the difficulties of physics teachers’ in conducting teaching and learning process that demands the requirements of mathematical concepts in senior high schools. The research was a qualitative research using phenomenological approach. The data were collected through focus group discussion (FGD) that involved 15 teachers from public and private senior high schools in the Kudus Regency, the Province of Central Java, Indonesia. The analysis was conducted by applying the Bogdan & Biklen model. The results of the research showed several findings if there had been problems of un-synchronism in the material orders of mathematics and physics that hindered the teaching and learning process. The strategies that physics teachers had applied individually are teaching mathematics materials as prerequisite first and making module collaboratively. The new arrangement of teaching and learning materials in mathematics and physics are needed to cover the problems. Keywords: mathematics mastery, physics teaching, learning process, difficulties and strategies.
... Specifically, prospective engineering and computer science majors are widely encouraged to take physics courses, both as a mark of rigor and for the content preparation that it offers. Taking physics at the high school level is a positive predictor of undergraduate achievement in physics courses, with greater content depth yielding differentially positive benefits (Sadler & Tai, 2001;Schwartz et al., 2009). One of the reasons for the lack of diversity in Physics education may be the instructional strategies teachers engage in their classrooms. ...
Article
Physics educators often struggle with how to tackle complex content such as electric potential. As a result, high school students are typically not engaged in developing a deep understanding of this concept. Historically, such engagement has been perceived as too challenging and abstract. To date no process exists for engaging students in a meaningful way around such content. However, Making provides a new way to engage students in learning about electric potential that has not yet been done. Drawing upon observations and interviews, this article shares the instructional opportunities afforded one high school physics teacher in teaching electric potential through the construction and coding of electronic textiles (e-textiles) maker projects. The study furthers current research in physics education by examining both the instructional methods and outcomes of instruction for high school physics students when e-textiles is used as a model for teaching electric potential.
... For example, eighth grade science curriculum in Japan covered eight topics, whereas American curricula covered upwards of 65. Similar results have been found with regard to the advantages of more concentrated curricula in the cross-national Third International Mathematics and Science Study (Schmidt et al., 2001;; see also Schwartz et al., 2009 for another study within the U.S. context supporting the notion of depth over breadth in supporting long-term science achievement). ...
Article
Refutation texts, rhetorical tools designed to reduce misconceptions, have garnered attention across four decades and many studies. Yet, the ability of a refutation text to change a learner’s mind on a topic needs to be qualified and modulated. In this critical review, we bring attention to sources of constraints often overlooked by refutation text researchers. Methodological issues we identified centered on problems of using a single topic (or very few) within a study, the role of testing in conceptual change, and the durability of change beyond an immediate posttest. Theoretical issues included the interpretation of attentional measures, what knowledge domains lend themselves to refutation, what makes a text refutational, and unexplored assumptions about how conceptual change occurs. We sought to clarify how refutation texts may function as an antidote to misconceptions and how future research on refutation texts can better inform understanding of this phenomenon.
... Compared to other countries, U.S. curricula tend to emphasize breadth over depth of knowledge, as evidenced by the thickness of U.S. textbooks (Schmidt, Houang, & Cogan, 2002). Examining depth versus breadth of topic coverage, Schwartz, Sadler, Sonnert, and Tai (2008) found that high school students who proceeded to achieve higher grades in their college science classes had covered a minimum of one major concept in depth for at least one month in high school. Conversely, students who reported more breadth-based learning in their high school science class performed less well in college biology. ...
Article
Journal on Excellence in College Teaching https://eric.ed.gov/?q=source%3A%22Journal+on+Excellence+in+College+Teaching%22&ff1=subCase+Studies&id=EJ1185678
... Internationally, the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (1997) recommended that schools rethink schedules for students to have more time for in-depth learning. Schwartz et al. (2009) reiterated this endorsement more recently in their literature review and research. ...
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The role of educational research, and schools’ and teachers’ engagement in and with research, changes when it is viewed as a form of professional development. The study presented in this paper intended to explore teachers’ practices for designing learning, instructing students and managing classrooms in the context of the primary–secondary school transition years, from Years 5–9 in Australia. Qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews with eight teacher participants who were asked to reflect on their everyday practices. This research contributes to the understanding of the multiple teaching roles of teachers for supporting students’ learning, and it highlights the potential for professional learning associated with researcher-teacher collaborations. The Appreciative Inquiry approach adopted for the research established a professional learning culture within a safe and authentic environment that respected the teachers’ knowledge and experience. Professional dialogue through productive and respectful collaborations generated new insights for transformative practice.
... It 70 is remarkable that the bulk of research on the BD has been in fields outside of psychology 71 (e.g. (Halpert, 1958;Schwartz et al., 2009;Turner et al., 2002). We believe that one decisions, that is, decisions that need to be planned in advance and cannot be changed on 78 the fly once initiated, e.g., once courses start, it is very costly to change them. ...
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Decision-makers are often faced with limited information about the outcomes of their choices. Current formalizations of uncertain choice, such as the explore-exploit dilemma, do not apply well to decisions in which search capacity can be allocated to each option in variable amounts. Such choices confront decision-makers with the need to tradeoff between breadth - allocating a small amount of capacity to each of many options – and depth - focusing capacity on a few options. We formalize the breadth-depth dilemma through a finite sample capacity model. We find that, if capacity is smaller than 4-7 samples, it is optimal to draw one sample per alternative, favoring breadth. However, for larger capacities, a sharp transition is observed, and it becomes best to deeply sample a very small fraction of alternatives, that decreases with the square root of capacity. Thus, ignoring most options, even when capacity is large enough to shallowly sample all of them, reflects a signature of optimal behavior. Our results also provide a rich casuistic for metareasoning in multi-alternative decisions with bounded capacity.
... Additionally, such programs must be ready to address the content coverage barrier by helping faculty engage in conversations with their departmental colleagues on curriculum unburdening in order to help make room for student-centered learning. Though we made the argument early on that "less is more," partially through a review of the literature (Luckie et al., 2012;Schwartz, Sadler, Sonnert, & Tai, 2008), we found that faculty were more willing to engage in unburdening after trying, and having some success with, student-centered learning strategies in their classrooms, and realizing they needed to make room for them. Further, to address the time barrier, programs should consider ways of forming faculty groups, such as PLCs, so that instructors can share the burden of designing materials and implementing new practices. ...
Article
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Background A faculty development program was implemented over four years at a 4-year regional comprehensive university and two partnering community colleges. This project was focused on improving student learning in introductory Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) courses at each institution, by helping faculty adopt inclusive, student-centered pedagogies. Survey data were combined with data from classroom videos, faculty interviews, and student questionnaires collected during the first two years of the project to give insight into how faculty initially implemented the theory and strategies they learned and how the students perceived instruction from participating faculty. Results These data sources were combined to generate four overall themes to characterize our project and guide future projects. These are: (1) implementation of student-centered learning took a variety of forms; (2) quality implementation of student-centered teaching practices lagged behind understanding of the theory behind those practices; (3) the most robust perceived barriers to implementation of student-centered teaching stayed constant, while more moderate barriers were ranked differently from year 1 to year 2; and (4) faculty perceptions of student-centered learning practices were not always the same as students’ perceptions. These themes build from the extant faculty development literature in that they are drawn from the unique context of a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional project, and that they represent an “on the ground” perspective from case studies combined with “big picture” findings from surveys. Conclusions This paper describes the faculty development project, as well as our collection and interpretation of data from surveys and case studies, to ultimately develop the four themes. Recommendations deriving from these themes are also described. These include modeling a variety of pedagogies; adopting realistic expectations for faculty change; institutionalizing faculty development so it can take place over multiple years; being transparent with faculty about known barriers and aligning supports with those barriers; and helping faculty develop strategies for transparency with students about student-centered pedagogies.
... First, the metacurriculum provides a starting point for development of comprehensive intended learning outcomes; these reflect a backwards design (Fink, 2013;Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) approach which contrasts from the traditional 'list of topics' strategy unintentionally reinforced by standards and similar documents. Second, the metacurriculum represents an educational paradigm that facilitates not only sustained effort from learners, but also greater depth in fewer topics; both of which lead to more enduring learning (Bjork & Bjork, 2009;Fink, 2013;Schwartz, Sadler, & Tai, 2009). Third, we suggest that perhaps it's not merely a matter of adding 'more' content. ...
Article
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The American healthcare system has undergone significant changes in the past few years due to government and corporate-level changes. As healthcare requirements continue to shift, occupational therapists must continue to assert their role or risk losing relevancy. Therefore, educational programs must prepare students to meet the populations’ shifting healthcare needs through agile curricula which focus less on isolated skills and more on broad areas of impact. To determine essential content comprising a ‘metacurriculum’ for occupational therapy education of the future, nine articles were analyzed using Bloom’s Taxonomy (revised) to code each document into knowledge, skills, and behaviors. Major themes were identified across all documents. Through the coding analysis eleven themes were identified: population health, developing life-long learners, advocacy (at government and individual level), interprofessional collaboration, generation of evidence and translational science, diversity and inclusion, psychosocial concerns, aging, wellbeing and preventative care, contemporary issues and informatics. The themes can serve as an outline for academic programs to continue to evolve their curricula to ensure that practitioners are fully prepared to address the global issues that will manifest during their careers in occupational therapy.
... Some studies relate a better performance of college students in the field of science to a reduction of coverage accompanied by an increase in depth [5]. Also, Pérez de Landazábal et al. [6], in the context of Spanish and Latin American students of Physics, suggest that, although the broad survey of the subject might seem intuitively appealing, it does not have advantages for most students. ...
Article
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We present a review of two different innovative experiences of Physics education for Bio-Sciences in two Spanish Universities - the Health Biology degree of the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares (UAH) and the Biology degree of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM). Both experiences took place simultaneously and coincident with the implementation of Bologna Plan. Although they were developed under different contextual constraints, set by the respective Faculties, they share a number of similar pedagogical strategies which are analyzed. In both cases the reforms allowed a substantial improvement in learning results compared to those obtained in the previous Physics courses in the respective degrees.
... The implementation of multidisciplinary modules and courses may be difficult because of the trade-off between the learning breadth and depth [4][5][6][7] , which must be carefully balanced for optimized student outcomes and professional development 8 . In addition, the connection between students' background and multidisciplinary topics, or the communication between professionals of different disciplines may impact the progress of activities. ...
... Ottmar, Konold, Berry, Grissmer andCameron (2013) citing Adodini et al. (2009) suggest that if teachers consistently omit 20% of the content, it is important to determine what concepts may be neglected. Research shows that high school preparation and content coursework in science and mathematics plays a significant role in successfully completing introductory college science courses (West, 1932;Yager, Snider, & Krajcik, 1988;Reynolds & Walberg, 1992;Sadler & Tai, 2001;Weiss, Pasley, Smith, Banilower, & Heck, 2003, (Gifford & Harpole, 1986Hart & Cottle, 1993;Tai, Sadler, & Loehr, 2005;Johnson & Kuennen, 2006;Tai & Sadler 2007;Schwartz, Sadler, Sonnert, & Tai, 2009). Although it is commonly accepted that a strong mathematics background is required for success, there is no clear data available as to what specific topics in mathematics are needed for success in introductory physics and chemistry classes. ...
Article
Cross-connections between the sciences and mathematics are emphasized through the Next Generation ScienceStandards and the Common Core State Standards in the United States. One topic that is a common bridge betweenmath and science is the concept of measurement and unit conversions in the metric/English system. This article usesa mixed-methods research design attempt to highlight the significance of this topic to demonstrate scientific literacyand for preparing students to be college ready. An analysis of content from college level introductory physicalscience textbooks, middle and high school math and science teacher surveys, clinical interviews and college studentsurveysare used to show how this critical concept may not be getting the attention it deserves in the US schoolsystems. Furthermore, the critical need to have specific questions related to this topic on standardized stateassessments has been suggested. The results indicate the need to reify this topic more extensively over the schoolyears, especially since the metric system of measurement is not a part of daily life in the United States.
... This could be another factor which hinders the success of curriculum delivery in teaching and learning. Schwartz and Sadler (2009) point out that effective teaching and learning requires support and scaffolding to ensure that teachers and learners operate at their optimal level. Subject advisers should be well trained and competent enough to monitor the curriculum implementation. ...
Article
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The purpose of this study is to explore the perception of subject advisers on curriculum change and delivery in secondary schools. The survey design which adopts quantitative research approach was used. Random sampling procedure is used to select b samples of 300 respondents in the study who are subject advisers. Questionnaires were administered to all selected 300 subject advisers, however, only 217 were duly completed and analysed for the study. The findings indicate among others that curriculum delivery is dependent on teachers’ familiarization with the curriculum, planning of lessons and teaching through the use of the curriculum. The study recommends that teachers should be motivated to familiarize themselves with the curriculum, trained periodically on how to use the curriculum when planning their lessons and teaching. Also, continuous curriculum change should be checkmated.
... By going in depth in studying one given protein, the students gain experience and knowledge in order to be able to broaden the use of these methods for other problems and proteins in the future. The importance of an in-depth approach has been noted in science education [14], however, the focus has to be such that the depth opens up for a broad understanding. To support this, some additional lectures, tutorials, and exercises have been included in the module. ...
Article
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Many laboratory courses consist of short and seemingly unconnected individual laboratory exercises. To increase the course consistency, relevance, and student engagement, we have developed a research‐inspired and project‐based module, “From Gene to Structure and Function”. This 2.5‐week full‐day biochemistry and structural biology module covers protein expression, purification, structure solving, and characterization. The module is centered around the flavodoxin‐like protein NrdI, involved in the activation of the bacterial ribonucleotide reductase enzyme system. Through an in‐depth focus on one specific protein, the students will learn the basic laboratory skills needed in order to generate a broader knowledge and breadth within the field. With respect to generic skills, the students report their findings as a scientific article, with the aim to learn to present concise research results and write scientific papers. The current research‐inspired project has the potential of being further developed into a more discovery‐driven project and extended to include other molecular biological techniques or biochemical/biophysical characterizations. In student evaluations, this research‐inspired laboratory course has received very high ratings and been highly appreciated, where the students have gained research experience for more independent future work in the laboratory. © 2019 The Authors. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2019.
Article
Content coverage is frequently identified by faculty as a barrier to the implementation of student-centered instructional strategies. This need to cover content may be a personal belief faculty hold and/or an external requirement imposed (or perceived to be) on them ( e.g. , by their department, institution, accreditors, etc. ). Studies have shown improved learning outcomes for instructors that adhere to depth (as opposed to breadth) approaches. This study sought to characterize chemistry assistant professors’ perspectives on content coverage and the reasoning supporting these perspectives. Nine chemistry assistant professors were interviewed, and constant comparative analysis was used to reveal patterns in faculty thinking. Most of the faculty participants appeared to lean to one side in “the debate” of content coverage and generally expressed that they were acting in the best interests of their students. For some their personal beliefs mainly drove their preference while for others, contextual factors contributed to their choice.
This journal recently published an article by Jacques Désautels in which he described a review of the pre-university Natural Sciences program in Quebec and how this review resulted in a training framework tainted by scientism, similar to the previous version of the program. We agree with Désautels’ arguments and share many of his underpinning views. In response to his article, we first present an overview of Désautels’ assertions, identifying two major problems in the review of the program: first, the methodology used in the consultations with university professors to understand their expectations of pre-university graduates, and second, the conflict between politics and epistemology in the new program’s content. We then examine the universities’ expectations, which – in our view – may not be met if the program is rolled out as written. Finally, because the program is likely already set in stone, we offer some suggestions to our teacher colleagues in the science program that may help alleviate some of the issues raised by Désautels and help students meet university expectations.
Article
Background/Context Although dual enrollment (DE) programs have indicated positive impact on various high school and postsecondary outcomes, access to DE programs remains unequal; historically marginalized students are less likely than other students to attempt college credits in high school. Despite DE being a widely adopted program at the state level, these programs vary greatly by eligibility criteria, funding models, delivery location, and modality. Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study Guided by prominent learning theories, we hypothesize that the influence of early DE on later educational pathways and outcomes may vary by the location in which DE is delivered. This study examines whether the delivery location of DE (i.e., on a college campus or otherwise) influences students’ college readiness and first-year academic momentum in college, with a special focus on its heterogeneous effect among students of diverse racial and socioeconomic background. Research Design Using the restricted-use data from High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09), we use a quasi-experimental approach (i.e., inverse probability weighting models) with a nationally representative sample of students who have taken at least one DE course by 11th grade. Findings/Results The findings reveal that students who took at least one DE course on a college campus do not differ in their cumulative high school GPA, in their probability of attending college, in whether they took developmental courses, in whether they attended college immediately after high school graduation, and in their probability of full-time enrollment when compared with those who took DE course(s) elsewhere. However, the findings are not applicable to all students of varying background defined by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Conclusions/Recommendations This study provides several implications: (1) Because DE courses taken on a high school or college campus equally fuel students’ college readiness and early academic momentum, advising practices should acknowledge the benefits of DE courses regardless of delivery location. (2) DE participation with college exposure may particularly benefit students of higher socioeconomic status (SES), so interventions that offer holistic college experiences beyond academic work are needed to effectively prepare lower SES students for college life and accumulate academic momentum are needed. (3) States and educational entities should be mindful about the potential disparate effect of DE programs and provide regulation, oversight, and quality assurance so that these programs can narrow the postsecondary achievement gap.
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Parental involvement plays a very important role in the development of a child's formal education. Even though there are many benefits of parental involvement, there are many factors that constrain parental involvement. This study explored various management strategies that might serve as guidelines to improve parental involvement in Southern Tshwane primary schools. The conceptual framework that informed this study was Factors that Determine School Effectiveness by Heneveld and Craig as well as Epstein's theory of overlapping spheres and her typology on parental involvement that served as the theoretical framework for this study. A qualitative research approach was the method used for this study, as it allowed the researcher to conduct in-depth interviews with six principals in Southern Tshwane primary schools. An extensive literature study and relevant documents were also examined to collect rich and comprehensive information. The research indicates that most schools comprehend the importance of parental involvement, yet lack structured implementation frameworks for parental involvement. The study recommends that schools need to plan, manage and implement a parental involvement programme according to the unique circumstances of the school.
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Whether the current post-16 qualifications system in the UK is fit for purpose has long been under discussion, with many calling for a broader, more interdisciplinary approach to preparation for university. This paper examines the relationship between post-16 (A-level) qualifications and degree success for students on the University of Exeter’s innovative Natural Sciences programme, with particular emphasis on whether it is possible to be successful at degree level in subjects not studied at A-level. Maths was found to be the best predictor of success in interdisciplinary science and no one science was found to be more important than the others for preparing students for the bespoke interdisciplinary first year of the degree programme. The data also demonstrates that these students can be successful in later years in subjects not studied at A-level which they would otherwise have been prohibited from studying at university through their lack of core entry requirements. We acknowledge the unique nature of the cohort under analysis and the fact they self-select for this type of programme, but discuss how the study provokes questions and debate about pre-university qualification requirements and the way we structure our school and university curricula to maximise the opportunities for the next generation of STEM graduates.
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This study aimed to examine high school students’ learning strategies in relation to their epistemic views and conceptions of learning in the discipline of biology through a structural equation modelling technique. A total of 247 high school students (168 males) participating in this study completed 3 questionnaires, the Epistemic Views of Biology (EVB), the Conceptions of Learning Biology (COLB), and the Strategies of Learning Biology (SLB). The results supported the hypothesised model proposed in this study, and a new factor of ‘Increase one’s Knowledge and Understanding,’ reflecting the feature of high school students’ biology learning, and serving an important role in biology learning, was identified in this study. In addition, students’ epistemic views were associated with their conceptions of learning, which consequently correlated to their learning strategies. More specifically, the EVB of ‘Uncertainty’ negatively related to lower COLB, which consequently positively related to Surface Strategies, whereas the EVB of ‘Justification’ was positively correlated to higher COLB as ‘Increase one’s Knowledge and Understanding,’ which in turn was correlated to Deep Strategies. According to the research findings, theoretical and practical suggestions for future research are provided.
Chapter
Undergraduate research can be one of the most important and influential learning experiences during a student’s college career (Light, 2001). Significant retention value is achieved both through one-on-one contact with a faculty mentor (Campbell, 1997; Jacobi, 1991) and by interaction with peers in a learning community (Johnson, 2001). Colleges and universities are using undergraduate research experiences to help improve student retention, graduation, and success in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). However, undergraduate research is frequently reserved for the best and brightest students who have achieved junior or senior class status. This case study describes a team-based research experience designed for first-year, at-risk undergraduate students. For this project, the term “at-risk” is defined to be first-time, full-time freshman declared STEM majors with a weak mathematics background as measured by having an ACT-Mathematics sub score of 19 to 23, inclusive. In particular, this case study focuses on the multidisciplinary nature of some of the research projects and the benefits for the students in terms of confidence, depth of learning in STEM, and progress in understanding the scientific process.
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Significance From choosing among the many courses offered in graduate school to dividing budget into research programs, the breadth–depth is a commonplace dilemma that arises when finite resources (e.g., time, money, cognitive capabilities) need to be allocated among a large range of alternatives. For such problems, decision makers need to trade off breadth—allocating little capacity to each of many alternatives—and depth—focusing capacity on a few options. We found that little available capacity (less than 10 samples for search) promotes allocating resources broadly, and thus breadth search is favored. Increased capacity results in an abrupt transition toward favoring a balance between breadth and depth. We finally describe a rich casuistic and heuristics for metareasoning with finite resources.
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Many instructors have altered their classes in favor of evidence-based, active learning instructional strategies. Overwhelming evidence confirms that lecture-only classrooms are detrimental to student learning outcomes, but we know less about the impact textbooks have on students when they are not in the classroom. Two influential projects, the AP Biology redesign and Vision and Change, called for extensive restructuring of course content, which implies that textbooks should be restructured accordingly. Should students continue to use passive textbooks that were written when passive lectures prevailed? This study evaluated all figures and tables from two textbooks to quantify how well they implement recommendations from Vision and Change and AP Biology redesign. We measured the degree to which these visual elements contained experimental data, were associated with a question, and required interpretation. We found significant differences between the two textbooks in all three aspects for figures and tables. Using think aloud interviews, we interrogated whether students engage differently with figures from the two textbooks. We found that when possible, students rely on written text rather than engaging with the graphical information for their understanding. Students employ words from figures that provided take-home messages to construct “inflated explanations” that mimic comprehension.
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STEM education has become one of the most rapidly growing sectors in educational reform globally. Whilst the program was successfully implemented in most countries, unfortunately the introduction in Saudi Arabia was not as successful due to a lack of clarity in the description of its meaning, purpose and framework of application. Although STEM is commonly recognized as a way of strengthening mathematics and science curricula, its exact implications are still unclear for any intervention or modification in any of the subjects related to science, mathematics, engineering and Technology, (STEM) implementation. In 2009, the Ministry of Education (MOE) introduced a new mathematics and science curriculum in a joint effort with Obeikan Research Development Company, as an adapted series of science and mathematics textbooks. The new adapted curricula attempt to make meaningful connection between student’s lives and their educational experiences through the implementation of new teaching practices which include student centred investigation strategies and problem-based learning.
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The research is an outcome of a scoping study commissioned by the LEGO Foundation’s Centre for Creativity, Play and Learning, to understand the role and impact of learning through play at school. We identified eight pedagogical approaches, which we collectively term ‘integrated’, for the evidence of how they combine child-directed, teacher-guided, and teacher-directed learning and align with the characteristics of playful learning experiences. They were also selected based on the breadth and depth of available evidence regarding their effectiveness as strategies for educating children in primary school across children engagement, holistic skills and traditional learning outcomes. The research maps the territory of these integrated pedagogies. It defines and describes them, offers evidence of their impact, and presents the factors that make them work. It details the broader education system factors that underpin pedagogy and its relation to curricula, teacher education and professional development, learners, parents and caregivers, and communities. It concludes with directions for future research.
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Recent research in science education examines learning from four perspectives which we characterize as a concept-learning focus, a developmental focus, a differential focus, and a focus on problem solving. This paper illustrates how these perspectives, considered together offer new insights into the knowledge and reasoning processes of science students and provide a framework for identifying mechanisms governing how individuals change their knowledge and thinking processes. An integrated examination of the four research perspectives strongly suggests that in-depth coverage of several science topics will benefit students far more than fleeting coverage of numerous science topics.
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This report presents key findings from the 1999 Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) Video Study of eighth-grade science teaching in five countries: Australia, Czech Republic, Japan, Netherlands, and the United States. The TIMSS 1999 Video Study is a follow-up and expansion of the TIMSS 1995 Video Study. The study is the first attempt to examine eighth-grade science lessons as they are actually delivered to students. The data presented focus on three basic questions: How did the teacher organize the lesson to support students’ opportunities to learn science? How was science represented to students in the lesson? What opportunities did students have to participate in science learning activities? The science lessons videotaped in the five countries display similarities and differences, with each country revealing a general approach to the teaching of science in the eighth grade. In general, the data suggest that, in the Czech Republic, science teaching can be characterized as whole-class events that focused on getting the content right; in the Netherlands science lessons focused on students’ independent learning of the science content; Japanese eighth-grade science lessons typically focused on developing a few physics and chemistry ideas by making connections between ideas and evidence through an inquiry-oriented, inductive approach in which data were collected and interpreted to build up to a main idea or conclusion; in Australia, lessons tended to focus on developing a limited number of ideas by making connections between ideas and evidence; and, in the United States, eighth-grade science lessons were characterized by a variety of activities that may engage students in doing science work, with less focus on connecting these activities to the development of science content ideas.
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Consider what knowledge, skills or insights you might need to meet this chal-lenge successfully: light a bulb with only one length of wire and a battery. 1 What do you need to know, and how do you integrate this knowledge? What role did development play in preparing you for this challenge? Science educa-tors can identify the skills that are necessary to deal with this task. Cognitive scientists can outline the developmental progression of skills that learners build and organize to create possible solutions. In this chapter we put together cog-nitive development with task performance. We use a research-based practical definition for skills that allows educators and cognitive scientists to judge the complexity of activities and solutions, and to identify the processes and steps by which learners build richer understandings as they cope with challenges such as turning on the light bulb. With these tools, we present a model of how by groping in context with a new task, people (a) construct novel skills and thus novel understanding and (b) gen-eralize the new skills to related contexts (Fischer, Yan, and Stewart, 2003). This analysis is generally consistent with Piaget's (1952/1936; 1950/1947) empha-sis on groping and adaptation as mechanisms for creation of new knowledge. It adds specific tools for describing how people use groping and adaptation to build new knowledge in specific contexts and to generalize that knowledge to other contexts. Other theories of ontogenesis have generally neglected this question and process, except in research on microdevelopment (Granott and Parziale 2002). They have typically either assumed that new knowledge can be readily created and generalized, or they have not considered the question specifically. Piaget himself did approach the question in a broad way, and the framework that we present explicates his explanation in terms of groping and adaptation (Fischer and Connell 2003).
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Interview data from secondary and postsecondary science instructors explored their in depth views on preparing students for college science. Professors expressed a high level of consensus concerning two factors: general student skills and mathematics preparation. Teachers, who expressed lower levels of consensus, did agree on the importance of mathematics, but also highlighted a variety of factors that promote active pedagogy in the classroom as well as the importance of technology, textbooks, other materials, and assessments. Given this divergence, the authors explored the research supporting the value of these factors as well as highlighted possible strategies for narrowing the gap.
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This study characterizes how learning and teaching differs as the responsibility for choosing curriculum goals and the strategies to reach those goals shifts between teacher and the students. Three different pedagogical approaches were used with 125 seventh‐grade and eighth‐grade students. All three curricula focus on electromagnetism, and were taught by two teachers in different schools over a two‐week period. When students had control over the strategies employed to reach goals, their engagement stayed high. All three curricula advanced student understanding to some degree; however, large and significant gains were seen only for the pedagogy in which teachers set the specific learning goals and students had control over how to achieve them. Microdevelopment, a principle by which short‐term learning recapitulates the stages seen in long‐term developmental growth, is found to be a useful framework for curriculum development and for analyzing changes in student understanding. In general, initial “tinkering” activities are best followed by attempts at representing phenomena, only then to be followed by abstract conceptualization. On balance, we find that students benefit most from freedom to control the procedures that they generate in response to well‐structured goals presented by the teacher.
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Our objective has been to develop an instructional theory and corresponding curricular materials that make scientific inquiry accessible to a wide range of students, including younger and lower achieving students. We hypothesized that this could be achieved by recognizing the importance of metacognition and creating an instructional approach that develops students' metacognitive knowledge and skills through a process of scaffolded inquiry, reflection, and generalization. Toward this end, we collaborated with teachers to create a computer enhanced, middle school science curriculum that engages students in learning about and reflecting on the processes of scientific inquiry as they construct increasingly complex models of force and motion phenomena. The resulting ThinkerTools Inquiry Curriculum centers around a metacognitive model of research, called the Inquiry Cycle, and a metacognitive process, called Reflective Assessment, in which students reflect on their own and each other's inquiry. In this article, we report on instructional trials of the curriculum by teachers in urban classrooms, including a controlled comparison to determine the impact of including or not including the Reflective Assessment Process. Overall, the curriculum proved successful and students' performance improved significantly on both physics and inquiry assessments. The controlled comparison revealed that students' learning was greatly facilitated by Reflective Assessment. Furthermore, adding this metacognitive process to the curriculum was particularly beneficial for low-achieving students: Performance on their research projects and inquiry tests was significantly closer to that of high-achieving students than was the case in the control classes. Thus, this approach has the valuable effect of reducing the educational disadvantage of low achieving students while also being beneficial for high-achieving students. We argue that these findings have strong implications for what such metacognitively focused, inquiry-oriented curricula can accomplish, particularly in urban school settings in which there are many disadvantaged students.
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numbers, while approximating the impact of prior science learning on subsequent science performance. By analyzing the cross-disciplinary benefits of these subjects across high school and college, we sought to bring empirical evidence to a debate that is often fueled by rhetoric. Sample, Instrument, and Analysis We randomly selected 77 colleges and uni- versities from a comprehensive list of roughly 1700 4-year institutions. To avoid overrepre- senting small, but more numerous, liberal arts colleges, we used a representative stratified random sampling based on college size (10,000 stu- dents). In all, professors for 122 introductory biology, chemistry, and physics courses at 63 of these colleges and universities participated. Only science courses satisfying requirements for science majors in each discipline were sur- veyed. We excluded from our analysis stu- dents who did not attend a U.S. high school, graduate students, and those not in degree pro- grams. Our total sample consisted of 8474 undergraduate students enrolled in one of the three introductory science courses.
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Self-reported grades are heavily used in research and applied settings because of the importance of grades and the convenience of obtaining self-reports. This study reviews and meta-analytically summarizes the literature on the accuracy of self-reported grades, class ranks, and test scores. Results based on a pairwise sample of 60,926 subjects indicate that self-reported grades are less construct valid than many scholars believe. Furthermore, self-reported grade validity was strongly moderated by actual levels of school performance and cognitive ability. These findings suggest that self-reported grades should be used with caution. Situations in which self-reported grades can be employed more safely are identified, and suggestions for their use in research are discussed.
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Recent research in science education examines learning from four perspectives which we characterize as a concept-learning focus, a developmental focus, a differential focus, and a focus on problem solving. This paper illustrates how these perspectives, considered together offer new insights into the knowledge and reasoning processes of science students and provide a framework for identifying mechanisms governing how individuals change their knowledge and thinking processes. An integrated examination of the four research perspectives strongly suggests that in-depth coverage of several science topics will benefit students far more than fleeting coverage of numerous science topics.
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In this article, professional development in the context of the current reforms in science education is discussed from the perspective of developing teachers' practical knowledge. It is argued that reform efforts in the past have often been unsuccessful because they failed to take teachers' existing knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes into account. Teachers' practical knowledge is conceptualized as action‐oriented and person‐bound. As it is constructed by teachers in the context of their work, practical knowledge integrates experiential knowledge, formal knowledge, and personal beliefs. To capture this complex type of knowledge, multimethod designs are necessary. On the basis of a literature review, it is concluded that long‐term professional development programs are needed to achieve lasting changes in teachers' practical knowledge. In particular, the following strategies are potentially powerful: (a) learning in networks, (b) peer coaching, (c) collaborative action research, and (d) the use of cases. In any case, it is recommended that teachers' practical knowledge be investigated at the start of a reform project, and that changes in this knowledge be monitored throughout the project. In that way, the reform project may benefit from teachers' expertise. Moreover, this makes it possible to adjust the reform so as to enhance the chances of a successful implementation. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 38: 137–158, 2001
Book
A Splintered Vision: An Investigation of U.S. Science and Mathematics Education is the US report on the curriculum analysis component of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) which was sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). The report summarizes data from the TIMSS curriculum analysis and integrates it with teacher questionnaire data from the US, Japan, and Germany on science and mathematics topic coverage and instructional practices. The authors of A Splintered Vision discuss and provide evidence of the unfocused nature of US mathematics and science curricular intentions, textbooks, and teacher practices. They offer the premise that producers of US textbooks and curriculum guides have attempted to answer calls for curricular reform by adding new content to already existing materials instead of devoting time to restructuring the materials. The authors also suggest that US teachers, inundated with a myriad of competing visions, are attempting to cover all the topics they confront in their resource documents and to meet all the instructional demands placed on them by those with a stake in education. In keeping with the `incremental assembly line' philosophy in American society, US teachers also tend to lean toward a piecemeal approach to education. The authors speculate on what such practices may mean for the mathematics and science achievement of US students. The work is sure to spur discussion among educational researchers, policy makers, and others concerned about the future of mathematics and science education in the US.
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High school teachers and college physics professors differ in their beliefs concerning the extent to which a high school physics course prepares students for college physics success. In this study of 1,933 introductory college physics students, demographic and schooling factors account for a large fraction of the variation in college physics grades at 18 colleges and universities from around the nation. Controlling for student backgrounds, taking a high school physics course has a modestly positive relationship with the grade earned in introductory college physics. More rigorous preparation, including calculus and 2 years of high school physics, predicts higher grades. Students who had high school courses that spent more time on fewer topics, concepts, problems, and labs performed much better in college than those who raced through more content in a textbook-centered course. College professors should recognize that a substantial fraction of the variation observed in the performance of students they teach can be explained by the range in effectiveness of their pre-college preparation, not simply innate ability. Although students without a high school physics course often do well in college physics, they are more likely to be academically stronger, with more educated parents, having previously taken calculus, and taking physics in their sophomore or junior year in college. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Sci Ed85:111–136, 2001.
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We stand poised to many the fruits of qualitative research on children's conceptions with the machinery of psychometrics. This merger allows us to build upon studies of limited groups of subjects to generalize to the larger population of learners. This is accomplished by reformulating multiple choice tests to reflect gains in understanding cognitive development. This study uses psychometric modeling to rank the appeal of a variety of children's astronomical ideas on a single uniform scale. Alternative conceptions are captured in test items with highly attractive multiple choice distracters administered twice to 1250 8th through 12th-grade students at the start and end of their introductory astronomy courses. For such items, an unusual psychometric profile is observed-instruction appears to strengthen support for alternative conceptions before this preference eventually declines. This lends support to the view that such ideas may actually be markers of progress toward scientific understanding and are not impediments to learning. This method of analysis reveals the ages at which certain conceptions are more prevalent than others, aiding developers and practitioners in matching curriculum to student grade levels. This kind of instrument, in which distracters match common student ideas, has a profoundly different psychometric profile from conventional tests and exposes the weakness evident in conventional standardized tests. Distractor-driven multiple choice tests combine the richness of qualitative research with the power of quantitative assessment, measuring conceptual change along a single uniform dimension. (C) 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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Learning to learn and gaining deep understanding depend on broad knowledge. But not just any knowledge will suffice.
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Correspondences between ACT™ and SAT® I scores are presented from a conceptual framework that distinguishes among three kinds of correspondences, namely, equating, scaling, and prediction. Construct similarity plays an important role in determining the nature and degree of correspondence that can be achieved. This report also maintains that statistical indices in conjunction with rational considerations are needed to determine whether the highest level of correspondence attainable between scores from two admission tests is the conceptual and statistical exchangeability sought by equating, the distributional similarity achieved by scaling, or the association attained by prediction. Relationships among the different scales of the ACT and SAT I are described in the context of the conceptual framework developed herein. Sums of scores, composites of scores, and individual scores are examined. Different types of correspondences between different sets of scores from these two admission tests are amenable to different interpretations.
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After providing the current rationale and historical background for educational standards, this article discusses various meanings and interpretations attached to this term. It then provides a comparative analysis of three sets of publications that are seen as providing national standards for science education, developed by the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Research Council. Next, the role of assessment in setting standards is discussed; in particular, the science, frameworks used by the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the Third International Mathematics and Science Study, the work of the New Standards Project; and the, expectations built into rigorous university entrance exams, as represented by the Advanced Placement examinations. The article also addresses the, current status of state science curriculum frameworks, including commonalities and variations among them. It concludes with a brief discussion of standards and framework documents, whether nationally or state developed, as policy levers for reforming science education in elementary and secondary school.
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Part 1: Learning and Teaching in Higher Education 1.Introduction 2.Ways if Understanding Teaching 3.What Students Learn 4.Approaches to Learning 5.Learning form the Student's Perspective 6.The Nature of Good Teaching in Higher Education 7.Theories of Teaching in Higher Education Part 2: Design for Learning 8.The Goals and Structure of a Course 9.Tecahing Strategies for Effective Learning 10.Assessing for Understanding Part 3: Evaluating and Improving the Quality of Teaching and Learning 11.Evaluating the Quality of Higher Education 12.What Does it Take to Improve Teaching?
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Microdevelopment is the process of change in abilities, knowledge and understanding during short time-spans. This book presents a new process-orientated view of development and learning based on recent innovations in psychology research. Instead of characterising abilities at different ages, researchers investigate processes of development and learning that evolve through time and explain what enables progress in them. Four themes are highlighted: variability, mechanisms that create transitions to higher levels of knowledge, interrelations between changes in the short-term scale of microdevelopment and the crucial effect of context. Learning and development are analysed in and out of school, in the individual's activities and through social interaction, in relation to simple and complex problems and in everyday behaviour and novel tasks. With contributions from the foremost researchers in the field Microdevelopment will be essential reading for all interested in cognitive and developmental science.
Book
Change is constant in everyday life. Infants crawl and then walk, children learn to read and write, teenagers mature in myriad ways, and the elderly become frail and forgetful. Beyond these natural processes and events, external forces and interventions instigate and disrupt change: test scores may rise after a coaching course, drug abusers may remain abstinent after residential treatment. By charting changes over time and investigating whether and when events occur, researchers reveal the temporal rhythms of our lives. This book is concerned with behavioral, social, and biomedical sciences. It offers a presentation of two of today's most popular statistical methods: multilevel models for individual change and hazard/survival models for event occurrence (in both discrete- and continuous-time). Using data sets from published studies, the book takes you step by step through complete analyses, from simple exploratory displays that reveal underlying patterns through sophisticated specifications of complex statistical models.
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In a recent paper Shaw and Thomas (1979) suggest that to an external observer learning may appear to be the achievement of certain behavioural objectives. However, for the learner, learning is the revision of his or her own cognitive structure, that is a shift in the way he or she perceives and construes events and behaves in situations. This view of learning implies that an appreciation of the student's view of the world, and the student's meanings for words, needs to be fully appreciated if teaching is to be successful. Physics teachers need to be aware of the various concept understandings that pupils bring to physics classrooms and thereby appreciate the difficulties pupils may have with understanding physics concepts. It is our view that the information gained using an interview-about-instances method can contribute to this teacher awareness and in doing so can contribute to the improvement of physics teaching.
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Certain beliefs and theories of teachers outstanding at promoting students' thinking are compared to those of teachers less-than outstanding. Analysis reveals that differences exist between the two groups regarding their instructional goals, conceptions of thinking, and views on the dilemma of depth vs breadth of content coverage. Results may provide direction for pre- and in-service teacher training efforts which attempt to facilitate teachers' instructional practices in the area of thinking by engaging teachers' in reflection about practice.
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We stand poised to marry the fruits of qualitative research on children's conceptions with the machinery of psychometrics. This merger allows us to build upon studies of limited groups of subjects to generalize to the larger population of learners. This is accomplished by reformulating multiple choice tests to reflect gains in understanding cognitive development. This study uses psychometric modeling to rank the appeal of a variety of children's astronomical ideas on a single uniform scale. Alternative con- ceptions are captured in test items with highly attractive multiple choice distractors administered twice to 1250 8th through 12th-grade students at the start and end of their introductory astronomy courses. For such items, an unusual psychometric profile is observed—instruction appears to strengthen support for alterna- tive conceptions before this preference eventually declines. This lends support to the view that such ideas may actually be markers of progress toward scientific understanding and are not impediments to learning. This method of analysis reveals the ages at which certain conceptions are more prevalent than others, aid- ing developers and practitioners in matching curriculum to student grade levels. This kind of instrument, in which distractors match common student ideas, has a profoundly different psychometric profile from conventional tests and exposes the weakness evident in conventional standardized tests. Distractor-driven multiple choice tests combine the richness of qualitative research with the power of quantitative assess- ment, measuring conceptual change along a single uniform dimension. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 35: 265-296, 1998.
Article
Buchangst pervades college astronomy. Instructors fret that no textbook is quite right, authors and publishers get shot down when they try to innovate, students count the days 'til they can sell back their unfriendly tomes. But none of this is going to change unless we make it happen.
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The major issues of concern to those who have a stake in the preparation of teachers are discussed in terms of a set of six dilemmas: coverage versus mastery; evaluative versus affective emphases; emphasis on current versus future needs of candidates; thematic versus eclectic approaches; emphasis on current practice versus innovative practice; and specific versus global assessment criteria. These dilemmas are endemic to teacher education and may account for both the dissatisfaction with teacher education and the low level of impact attributed to it.
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Science education curriculum standards are in part a political process including conflicting philosophies, values, and priorities for what science knowledge is most worth knowing. In this article we specify some of these conflicts by using an example of ''Science for All Americans'' (SFAA), a project sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Formed in 1848, the association is the world's largest federation of scientific and engineering societies and has over 140,000 members. We used interviews with 20 persons (e.g., teachers, teacher educators, policy makers curriculum developers) to find key issues of potential support and opposition. Interest groups concerned with these controversial issues are examined, as well as the crucial actors and institutions for policy approval at the state and local levels. Our focus is on formal policy making rather than classroom implementation. We conclude that political coalitions supporting SFAA will require a great deal of political analysis and mobilization. This will take time, but SFAA was established with a long-term perspective.