ERIC Number: ED340589
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1987-May
Reference Count: N/A
Science in the Elementary Schools.
Massachusetts State Dept. of Education, Boston.
Although a major purpose of the Massachusetts Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) is to measure science achievement, it is also designed to provide information that can be used to improve curriculum and instruction. Student, teacher, and principal surveys were used to gather information on instruction, training, resources and other variables that were believed to affect science achievement. Schools that performed particularly well on the science portion of the MEAP assessment were visited and the entire elementary program observed. Commonalities between schools that did well on the science portion were determined. The results indicated: (1) in many elementary schools there is no science instruction at all, in others it is minimal; (2) there is a widespread lack of scientific equipment and little support for providing it; (3) many teachers lack the most basic scientific training; and (4) when science instruction does occur, it tends to stress content over process. The following recommendations are offered: (1) make hands-on scientific experience a major priority in teacher training; (2) provide science instruction on a daily basis in sessions long enough to allow students to become meaningfully engaged; (3) adopt the view that science instruction is not only important in itself but is an extension and reinforcement of the critical thinking skills that are taught both in language arts and mathematics; (4) anchor theory to experience through an instructional plan that begins with children's natural interest in the world; and (5) provide a variety of learning materials together with the support teachers need to use them effectively. (KR)
Descriptors: Achievement Tests, Discussion (Teaching Technique), Elementary School Science, Experiential Learning, Grade 3, Inquiry, Inservice Teacher Education, Integrated Curriculum, Interdisciplinary Approach, Language Arts, Learning Processes, Preservice Teacher Education, Primary Education, Questionnaires, Rural Schools, Science Achievement, Science Activities, Science Education, Science Instruction, Student Evaluation, Suburban Schools, Urban Schools
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Massachusetts State Dept. of Education, Boston.