Automated science curriculum : an experimental science program Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/794080999

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  • Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine statistically the effects of an automated science curriculum on the science learnings of eighth grade students. This curriculum involved the use of Keysort cards as a flexible handbook for teachers and included in the directions for use a teaching method which required the direct involvement of students in the scientific behaviors of inquiry. The aspects of science learnings measured included the students' knowledge of the products of science and their understanding of and ability to use the processes of science. Study Materials: The Science Teachers' Adaptable Curriculum (abbreviated STAC) consists of a broad spectrum of science curriculum projects and suggestions printed on Keysort punch cards. They offer a flexibility which allows the individual teacher to develop a scope and sequence consistent with his own strengths and interests and with the abilities and interests of his students. The learning pattern designed for use with the STAG materials is one in which the behavioral processes of inquiry are used as the vehicle for discovering the structure of science. This is accomplished through firsthand experiences with laboratory investigation. The instrument used for evaluating the science process and product learnings of students is titled the Portland Science Test. The test was developed locally by a group of educators which included the author. Reliability and validity were found to be adequate for the present study. Population: The results of a questionnaire revealed that eleven eighth grade teachers were using the STAG material in a manner appropriate to its design. The population of the control group was formed from the 261 students who were in the classes of the eleven teachers the year before the STAG program was available. The experimental group consisted of the 254 students who were with the same eleven teachers during the first year they used the STAG program. The use of a true experimental design of the post-test only, control-group type was based on the assumption that the students in the control and experimental groups were similar samples from the same population. Results: Differences between the control and experimental process, product, and total group means were subjected to the critical ratio as a test of the identified null hypotheses. As a result of these analyses, and within the limitations of the study, the following results can be reported: 1. The use of the automated science curriculum did not make a measurable difference in the science process learnings of eighth grade students. 2. The use of the automated science curriculum did not make a measurable difference in the science product learnings of eighth grade students. 3. The use of the automated science curriculum did not make a measurable difference in the total science learnings of eighth grade students. Conclusions: Those resisting new programs state that educators have no right to experiment with the future of the children. The results indicate that the automated curriculum can be initiated without impairing the educational growth of students. This action places the curriculum on an evolutionary base which has potential for the immediate revision so necessary in a modern, dynamic society. Revision of the automated curriculum is already underway and includes its adaptation to computerized techniques. Improved results should be expected by providing individual help, sufficient implementation time, and improved science supply accessibility.
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