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ERIC Number: EJ798575
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1090-185X
A Study of Common Beliefs and Misconceptions in Physical Science
Stein, Mary; Larrabee, Timothy G.; Barman, Charles R.
Journal of Elementary Science Education, v20 n2 p1-11 Spr 2008
The Science Belief Test is an online instrument comprised of 47 statements that require true or false responses and request written explanations to accompany these responses. It targets topics in chemistry, physics, biology, earth science, and astronomy and was initially designed to assess preservice elementary teachers' beliefs about general science content. A set of responses for six of the physical science items targeting force/gravity and physical/chemical change was selected for analysis from 305 respondents. Written explanations were coded into three general categories: (1) correct explanation, (2) incorrect explanation, (3) guess or uninterpretable. The correct response rates for the explanations were compared to the correct response rates that were based on the accompanying true or false answers. The explanations were further analyzed and coded into specific categories that included alternative and naive conceptions. Correct response rates, when analyzed from the true/false or written explanations, were low (less than 60%) for five of the six items. Naive beliefs and/or misconceptions were prevalent for each of these five items, and understanding that students may hold these beliefs prior to instruction may provide teachers with useful information for the purpose of improving instruction. (Contains 2 tables.)
Western Illinois University. Document and Publications Services, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455-1390. Tel: 309-298-1917; Fax: 309-298-2869; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A