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ISSN 1087-3430 Vol. 6 - No. 2 - December 2001


Thank you for your interest in the Electronic Journal of Science Education, the first electronic journal of its kind devoted to the timely sharing of science education issues via the World Wide Web. The editors and review board hope you find the enclosed articles academically and professionally valuable.

John R. Cannon, Editor and Publisher
David T. Crowther, Associate Editor and Publisher
University of Nevada, Reno


Table of Contents

EJSE Editorial...

The History of Science -- We have come a long way!

David T. Crowther
Associate Editor and Publisher


Article One

The Use of the National Science Education Standards to Critique a Standardized High School Biology Examination

by

Julie F. Westerlund, Ph. D
jw33@swt.edu

and

Sandra S. West, Ph. D
Southwest Texas State University

Abstract

Every year, more states are adding standardized state-mandated science achievement tests to their testing programs. However, published analyses of these statewide science examinations are rare. It is critical to evaluate these tests because tests define what will be taught to students. The purpose of this article is two-fold: 1) to provide a brief historical overview of standardized testing in science including its purpose, consequences, characteristics, and evaluation; 2) to provide a critique that is unique in that this study used national science standards to evaluate a state-mandated standardized science test.

Article Two

High School Students' Perceptions of Evolutionary Theory

by

C. Sheldon Woods, Ph. D
DePaul University
cwoods@depaul.edu

and

Lawrence C. Scharmann, Ph.D.
Kansas State University

Abstract

The subjects for this study were 518 students, enrolled in grades 9-12, from a large high school in the Midwestern United States. Quantitative and qualitative methods were utilized to examine factors involved in subjects' acceptance of evolutionary theory. A causal-comparative or ex post facto design was employed for the quantitative aspect. The dependent variable was acceptance of evolutionary theory. Independent variables were science locus of control, logical thinking ability, grade level, gender, race/ethnicity, and teacher. In order to answer questions more conducive to qualitative research methods, additional data were collected from semi-structured interviews. Approximately ten percent of the subjects were interviewed. The authors present an examination of perceptions held by high school science students concerning evolutionary theory. This is followed by implications for science instruction. The authors conclude that we need to strive to provide learning opportunities that encourage high school students to find their own "place to stand" between what many perceive to be an "evolution vs. creation" choice. Positioning learners to take that next step is crucial if we are to promote a more adequate understanding of the nature of evolutionary theory and why biologists consider it to be a powerful unifying theme for study in the biological sciences. If we fail to do this, at best we risk students memorizing what they think we want to hear. Worse still, we risk alienating their future study of the biological sciences. Finally, worst of all, we continue to perpetuate a misunderstanding of evolutionary theory among future adults.


Editor's Note: Many thanks to the authors for submitting this manuscript in Acrobat PDF. If you do not have Acrobat Reader, please click on the "Get Reader" graphic below to download the program free of charge. Once the Acrobat Reader loads the article, use the back button on your browser to return to the EJSE.

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Article Three

Teachersí Beliefs About Accommodating Studentsí Learning Styles In Science Classes

by

Lena M. Ballone
Bowling Green State University

and

Charlene Czerniak
University of Toledo

Abstract

Learning styles is a common strand found throughout recent science education reform recommendations. The objective of this study was to examine the influences of teacher beliefs regarding their intent to implement a variety of instructional strategies to meet the needs of different learning styles in the science classroom. Ajzen's (1985) Theory of Planned Behavior was used to investigate the influence of the primary constructs (attitude toward the behavior (AB), subjective norm (SN), and perceived behavioral control (PBC) on intent to engage in the targeted behavior. Differences between various teacher populations for the three primary constructs and intent also were examined. Survey research methods were employed to obtain data (n=109 Ohio teachers, randomly selected). Results were statistically analyzed using multiple regression, correlations, descriptive statistics, reliability, ANOVAS, and Sheffe post hoc techniques. Results indicated that attitude toward behavior and subjective norm influenced teachers' intent to implement variety of instructional strategies to meet the needs of different learning styles. Attitude toward behavior was the greatest influence. It was concluded that teacher belief constructs should be considered carefully when planning teacher development programs in order to successfully implement science reform recommendations.

About the authors...

Lena M. Ballone is an assistant professor at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. A former secondary science teacher, she currently teaches secondary and early childhood science methods and technolgy courses. She has been involved in several grant-funded projects that aim to implement science reform recomendations in the elementary classroom.

Charlene M. Czerniak is a professor at The University of Toledo in Curriculum and Instruction. A former elementary teacher in Bowling Green, OH, she has authored and co-authored over 40 articles. She has also published a book, two chapters in books, and illustrated 12 children's science education books. Her publications have appeared in The Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Journal of Science Teacher Education, School Science and Mathematics, Science Scope, and Science and Children.


Special Section: Resources and Programs in Higher Education

compiled by David T. Crowther, Associate Editor, EJSE


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