A study of the effect of two programs in high school biology upon critical thinking ability, specific affective behaviors, and attitudes toward education Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/gx41mk93h

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  • The purpose of this study was to investigate several hypotheses concerning specific demonstrable attitudes toward education, critical thinking ability, and affective behaviors as these were manifested by students in the BSCS environmental module, Investigating Your Environment (IYE), and in more structure-oriented biology classes. Participants in the study were students in 32 high school classes throughout the United States Sixteen classes were randomly assigned to the IYE module, which constituted one factor of the treatment groups (T₁). Sixteen classes involved in more structure-oriented biology classes taught by the same teachers were randomly assigned to the second treatment. The second factor consisted of two levels, with T₂ constituting the classes using one of the BSCS Biological Science versions, and T₃ constituting the classes using Modern Biology by Otto and Towle. A total of 355 students were in the IYE program, and 375 students were in one of the more structure-oriented biology programs. The criterion instruments used were the Attitudes Toward Education Survey (ATES), the Cornell Critical Thinking. Test (CCTT), Level X, and the Biology Students Behavioral Inventory (BSBI), Form C. Students in the IYE program worked for nine weeks on independent research investigations of their own choosing, based upon what they identified as important to them at the time. Students in the more structured biology programs continued their studies with no change in the instructional mode. The experimental design was a Posttest-Only, using two-factor analysis of variance with an F-test to compare treatment results of class means. Scores on the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills were used for covariance analysis. The Findings Two major hypotheses which asserted that there was no significant difference in the two modes of instruction upon student attitudes toward education or upon specific affective behaviors among classes in the treatment groups were tested and not rejected. The major hypothesis asserting that there was no significant difference among classes in the treatment groups in the ability of students to think critically was rejected at the .05 level of significance with the BSCS Biological Science classes showing higher performance ratings in overall critical thinking ability than the IYE classes. Concerning the minor hypotheses, no significant F-values were found in the class means of the treatment groups on four of the six sub-scales in the ATES. Two sub-scales showed significant differences at the .05 and .10 probability levels with the IYE classes consistently rating more favorably. Except for ratings in two sub-scales, the absence of a significant difference in the class means of the treatment groups in the ATES showed that in this research study the methodology used was not a factor in the outcomes of the particular attitudes examined. In the CCTT an inverse correlation appeared in which the combined IYE classes scored lower, although non-significantly, in three of the four sub-scales. The IYE classes scored significantly lower at the .05 probability level in one sub-scale as compared with the combined structure-oriented biology classes. No significant differences were found between the class means of the treatment groups for three of the four sub-scales in the BSBI. The hypothesis relating to Openness was rejected at the .05 level of significance with the structure-oriented classes showing more openness as compared to the IYE classes. Conclusion Within the framework of this study, students who participated in the IYE module, which allows maximum latitude for each student to select and pursue independently an investigation of his own choosing, did not appear to differ significantly in the achievement of the overall outcomes examined from students in more structure-oriented biology programs.
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