ERIC Number: EJ870117
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Scientific Caricatures in the Earth Science Classroom: An Alternative Assessment for Meaningful Science Learning
Clary, Renee M.; Wandersee, James H.
Science & Education, v19 n1 p21-37 Jan 2010
Archive-based, historical research of materials produced during the Golden Age of Geology (1788-1840) uncovered scientific caricatures (SCs) which may serve as a unique form of knowledge representation for students today. SCs played important roles in the past, stimulating critical inquiry among early geologists and fueling debates that addressed key theoretical issues. When historical SCs were utilized in a large-enrollment college Earth History course, student response was positive. Therefore, we offered SCs as an optional assessment tool. Paired t-tests that compared individual students' performances "with" the SC option, as well as "without" the SC option, showed a significant positive difference favoring scientific caricatures (alpha = 0.05). Content analysis of anonymous student survey responses revealed three consistent findings: (a) students enjoyed expressing science content correctly but creatively through SCs, (b) development of SCs required deeper knowledge integration and understanding of the content than conventional test items, and (c) students appreciated having SC item options on their examinations, whether or not they took advantage of them. We think that incorporation of SCs during assessment may effectively expand the variety of methods for probing understanding, thereby increasing the mode validity of current geoscience tests.
Descriptors: Test Items, Student Evaluation, Student Reaction, Alternative Assessment, Student Surveys, Geology, Knowledge Representation, Content Analysis, Visual Stimuli, Courses, Earth Science, History, Feedback (Response)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A