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Full-Text Articles in Education

Teachers' Professional Knowledge And Formative Assessment Practices: An Empirical Study From Middle School Earth Science Instruction In The Context Of An Educational Improved Community, Laura Millay Dec 2018

Teachers' Professional Knowledge And Formative Assessment Practices: An Empirical Study From Middle School Earth Science Instruction In The Context Of An Educational Improved Community, Laura Millay

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

While there is widespread agreement that effective formative assessment supports student learning in science, the knowledge teachers need in order assess learning remains sparsely studied. In 1999, Magnusson, Krajcik, and Borko (MKB) proposed that Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK, Shulman 1986, 1987) is a distinct knowledge domain that synthesizes three base domains that include science subject matter, pedagogy, and context. The MKB model identified Assessment Knowledge as one of five components of PCK. Since 1999, several studies have used the MKB framework, but have left Assessment Knowledge underdefined. In 2012, Avargil, Herscovitz, and Dori proposed a revision based on empirical study ...


A Granular Account Of Student's Understanding Reasoning Within An Everyday And Scientific Contexts, Grace M. Gonnella Aug 2018

A Granular Account Of Student's Understanding Reasoning Within An Everyday And Scientific Contexts, Grace M. Gonnella

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Teachers and educational researchers in the Maine Physical Sciences Partnership (Maine PSP) at the University of Maine identified making quality scientific arguments as a struggle for students. Not only is argumentation hard, but reasoning is the hardest component of an argument. Many frameworks have been developed to target teaching about argumentation but do not address how to teach one component of an argument in isolation. Educational practitioners encourage using everyday context to learn about arguments in the scientific context, but there is limited support in what is the best method. The first purpose of this research was to understand a ...


Understanding Student Development Of Science Literacy Skills In An Undergraduate Environmental Science Course, Molly Picillo Aug 2018

Understanding Student Development Of Science Literacy Skills In An Undergraduate Environmental Science Course, Molly Picillo

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Educators are expected to instill a variety of skills in their students that are necessary to be competent citizens of society. One such set of skills, science literacy skills, broadly encompass the ability of an individual to evaluate reliability of data and information and critically analyze and interpret them (Gormally Brickman, Hallar, & Armstrong, 2009). These skills are utilized in everyday decision-making and given their pertinence, there is a need for citizens to be scientifically literate. Thus, educators need tools and assessments to help students develop these skills and analyze their science literacy. The aim of this study was to develop science literacy interventions that could be easily incorporated into college curricula, providing instructors with exemplars of classroom interventions with the intent to improve students’ science literacy skills. Therefore, the broad research question for this investigation was: How do science literacy interventions impact student proficiency in science literacy skills in college general education courses? I measured effectiveness of the interventions using the Test of Science Literacy Skills (TOSLS, Gormally Brickman, & Lutz, 2012) pre- and post-survey scores, as well as student feedback from pre- and post-survey, follow-up interviews. The TOSLS surveys were given as part of a participation grade to students in a general education undergraduate college course (n = 148). A subset of students volunteered to be interviewed regarding specific questions from the TOSLS survey, after both the pre-survey (n = 12) and the post-survey (n = 5), to further investigate student understanding and interpretation. Interventions were designed by modifying previous assignments from earlier years’ offerings of the class and were conducted both during class and outside of class as homework extensions. These interventions were created by evaluating scores and interviews on the TOSLS survey deployed as a pilot study in a previous semester of the undergraduate course. Based on these pilot data, four survey questions encompassing different science literacy skills of particular difficulty were targeted for intervention. The interventions were: (1) An interactive clicker-based lesson involving graph selection methods; (2) Data summits involving graph interpretation and source evaluation; and (3) A role-play after which students discussed sources of bias.

Although the results indicated no statistically significant changes in the average scores between the pre-survey and post-survey (t test, p = 0.82, α = 0.05), interviewed students recalled ...


Investigating Student Understanding Of Vector Calculus In Upper-Division Electricity And Magnetism: Construction And Determination Of Differential Element In Non-Cartesian Coordinate Systems, Benjamin Schermerhorn May 2018

Investigating Student Understanding Of Vector Calculus In Upper-Division Electricity And Magnetism: Construction And Determination Of Differential Element In Non-Cartesian Coordinate Systems, Benjamin Schermerhorn

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Differential length, area, and volume elements appear ubiquitously over the course of upper-division electricity and magnetism (E&M), used to sum the effects of or determine expressions for electric or magnetic fields. Given the plethora of tasks with spherical and cylindrical symmetry, non-Cartesian coordinates are commonly used, which include scaling factors as coefficients for the differential terms to account for the curvature of space. Furthermore, the application to vector fields means differential lengths and areas are vector quantities. So far, little of the education research in E&M has explored student understanding and construction of the non-Cartesian differential elements used in applications of vector calculus. This study contributes to the research base on the learning and teaching of these quantities.

Following course observations of junior-level E&M, targeted investigations were conducted to categorize student understanding of the properties of these differentials as they are constructed in a coordinate system without a physics context and as they are determined within common physics tasks. In general, students did not have a strong understanding of the geometry of non-Cartesian coordinate systems. However, students who were able to construct differential area and volume elements as a product of differential lengths within a given coordinate system were more successful when applying vector calculus. The results of this study were used to develop preliminary instructional resources to aid in the teaching of this material.

Lastly, this dissertation presents a theoretical model developed within the context of this study to describe students’ construction and interpretation of equations. The model joins existing theoretical frameworks: symbolic forms, used to describe students’ representational understanding of the structure of the constructed equation; and conceptual blending, which has been used to describe the ways in which students combine mathematics and physics knowledge when problem solving. In addition to providing a coherent picture for how the students in this study connect contextual information to symbolic representations, this model is broadly applicable as an analytical lens and allows for a detailed reinterpretation of similar analyses using these frameworks.


Echoes Of The Past: The Effect Of Background Experience On Far Transfer, Graham H. Hummel-Hall May 2018

Echoes Of The Past: The Effect Of Background Experience On Far Transfer, Graham H. Hummel-Hall

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Far transfer is the application of knowledge learned in one setting to a problem in a very different setting. This multi-method study looked at far transfer in humans and whether it could be facilitated, inhibited, or remain unaffected by the number of courses or years a student at a university spent learning about the subject matter of the knowledge being transferred. Through quantitative and qualitative analysis of pretest and post-test data from an introductory undergraduate earth science course, I found that students with more physical science background experience more frequently engaged in successful and accurate transfer of physics information to ...


Deciphering Climate-Driven Changes In Planktonic Diatom Communities In Lake Superior, Amy Kireta May 2018

Deciphering Climate-Driven Changes In Planktonic Diatom Communities In Lake Superior, Amy Kireta

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Climate change is affecting lake systems throughout the world, including Lake Superior, the world’s largest lake by surface area. Climate-driven physical changes in Lake Superior are well documented, but there is still substantial uncertainty of how recent biological changes are related to climate change. This research addresses these uncertainties using a variety of approaches to understand the effects of modern climate-driven changes on Lake Superior diatom communities. First, I developed models for environmental variables related to diatom abundance using 10 years of summer monitoring data. Second, I investigated changes in fossilized diatom relative abundances before, during, and after the ...


Assessing Student Understanding Of Reasoning Using Argument-Based Contrast Matrices, Ethan Geheb Apr 2018

Assessing Student Understanding Of Reasoning Using Argument-Based Contrast Matrices, Ethan Geheb

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

There is strong national interest in increasing student proficiency in STEM, which includes the learning and practice of scientific argumentation. The codevelopment of scientific knowledge and argumentation has shown to positively influence student general understanding of argument construction, scientific knowledge and principles. Research indicates students continue to struggle with constructing complete arguments, with specific difficulty in correctly incorporating reasoning. Numerous frameworks have been developed to support student learning about argumentation. These frameworks contain common teaching strategies for introducing and teaching reasoning within the context of a science classroom. However, these strategies do not specifically target student struggle with using reasoning ...