ERIC Number: ED478163
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Apr
A Follow-Up Investigation of the Role of Cover Story on the Assessment of Experimental Design Skills. CSE Technical Report.
Zimmerman, Corinne; Glaser, Robert
Cover story, in the sense of context, is a potentially relevant factor in the assessment of reasoning and problem solving in science, given repeated demonstration of its effects on laboratory tasks. This study follows up on a preliminary interview study that showed cover story influenced the way students were assessed at the end of an instructional unit. Two main changes characterize the attempt in this study to replicate earlier findings. First, testing materials were changed so as to reduce the number of possible explanations for the cover story effect, if found. Second, students completed the open-ended assessment in a group classroom setting rather than during individual interviews. Participants were 135 students taught by 3 teachers. There were no performance differences for cover stories that instructed students to design an experiment to test a positive claim (i.e., that coffee grounds are "good" for plants), a negative claim (i.e., that coffee grounds are "bad" for plants), or a neutral control. Observed differences, however, were related to the teacher students had for the instructional unit. Implications for assessment are discussed. An appendix contains the cover stories for the three tasks. (Contains 3 tables and 10 references.) (Author/SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, Los Angeles, CA.; California Univ., Los Angeles. Center for the Study of Evaluation.