ERIC Number: ED462412
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Testing Positive versus Negative Claims: A Preliminary Investigation of the Role of Cover Story on the Assessment of Experimental Design Skills. CSE Technical Report.
Zimmerman, Corinne; Glaser, Robert
This paper presents results from a preliminary investigation in which researchers manipulated the cover story of an open-ended assessment that required students to design an experiment. Participants were 27 sixth graders from a culturally diverse urban school. In one version of the cover story, students were asked to design an experiment to test a negative claim (i.e., that tap water is "bad" for plants). In a second version, they were to test a positive claim (i.e., that coffee grinds are "good" for plants). Differences between the two cover stories were found. In the negative condition, students were more likely to suggest controlled designs, to identify the correct independent variable, and to test the claim directly. In the positive condition, students proposed uncontrolled designs and did not select the correct variable to test. When asked to test a positive claim, students seemed to approach the task as if the goal was to test the generality of the claim (by selecting different plant types as the focal variable). Students of all ability levels were influenced by the cover story; however, the effect was greatest for students of low ability. Implications for assessment are discussed. Two appendixes contain the cover stories and the coding categories for design score for the task. (Contains 4 tables and 10 references.) (Author/SLD)
Descriptors: Ability, Elementary School Students, Experiments, Intermediate Grades, Research Design, Test Items
UCLA/Center for the Study of Evaluation, 301 GSE&IS, box 951522, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1522 ($3.50). Tel: 310-206-1532. For full text: http://www.cse.ucla.edu/CRESST/Reports/TR554.pdf%20.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Los Angeles. Center for the Study of Evaluation.; National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, Los Angeles, CA.