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ERIC Number: EJ1164255
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
Utilizing Xenarthra (Tree Sloth, Anteater, Armadillo, Ground Sloth, Glyptodont, and Pampathere) Cranial Material to Evaluate Students' Understanding of This Thing Called Science
Shaw, Barbara J.; Ruedas, Luis A.
Journal of Geoscience Education, v60 n4 p393-407 Nov 2012
Two-thirds of U.S. citizens do not understand the scientific process. There is a clear misunderstanding about what science is--and is not--both in our society and in the classroom. Furthermore, students below basic proficiency are locked into an achievement gap. In response, the No Child Left Behind Act was passed in 2001. Since then, there has been some progress in decreasing the achievement gap. However, according to The Nation's Report Card, 34% of fourth grade and 43% of eighth grade students sampled by the National Assessment for Educational Progress still fall below a basic level of proficiency in science. To evaluate what is misunderstood about the scientific process, third through eighth graders were guided to discern science from pseudoscience, and form testable questions by using 45 animal skulls and design experiments, and to then collect and analyze data to answer their questions based on the graphs they developed. They were given a pre-assessment at the beginning and a postassessment the end of a 12-h unit to determine changes in learning. These data were analyzed by a paired Student's "t"-test. The results show that students gained significantly in memorizing facts and making objective observations about xenarthrans. Students were not able, however, to transfer the skills gained to make objective observations about dinosaurs. In addition, they had difficulty differentiating between scientific questions (objectively testable) from nonscience questions.
National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Carleton College W-SERC, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057. Tel: 540-568-6675; Fax: 540-568-8058; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Grade 3
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Oregon (Portland)
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Assessment of Educational Progress; Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A