The effects of a kit-based science curriculum and teacher characteristics on students' attitude toward science
This study examines 5th and 8th grade students' (N = 1063) attitude toward science in relation to science instruction, science achievement, and teacher characteristics. One group of students is from districts implementing kit-based, inquiry science curriculum, accompanied by extensive science professional development. The comparison group is from districts that have other, more traditional, types of science curriculum and provide little science professional development for teachers. Data were gathered using a paper and pencil science test while attitude and teacher instructional characteristics were collected from surveys and questionnaires.
Results show 5th grade students having a significantly more positive attitude toward science compared to the 8th grade students. There was a weak correlation (r = .185) between achievement and attitude. Analyses indicated that while the non-kit group had significantly more positive attitude toward science compared to the kit-based group, there was significant variability among the classes in each group with the non-kit classes showed the greatest variability for both attitude and achievement scores. These results provide some evidence of the effect of the systematic professional development that is part of the kit-based program. Additionally, analyses of teacher instructional characteristics (sense of preparedness to use and frequency of using inquiry strategies) data show that the kit-based teacher group felt more prepared to use inquiry-based instructional strategies while the non-kit group of teachers reported that students participated more often in inquiry-based activities in the class. Regression analysis showed a significant association of teachers' feelings of preparedness to use reform-based instructional strategies with student attitude toward science.
This study provides evidence for the continued evaluation of science programs that focus on supporting teachers with ongoing professional development and classroom supports to promote inquiry-based, hands-on teaching and learning. Moreover, these results support placing attitude toward science high on the list of considerations when designing curriculum and professional development for science programs.
EDUCATION, SCIENCES (0714); EDUCATION, TEACHER TRAINING (0530); EDUCATION, ELEMENTARY (0524)
Sharon K Lee,
"The effects of a kit-based science curriculum and teacher characteristics on students' attitude toward science"
Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access).