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ISSN 1087-3430 Vol. 6 - No. 3 - March 2002

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

Editor's note: Due to the number of embedded graphics featured in this issue of the EJSE, many of the manuscripts have been saved in PDF format. 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.


EJSE Editorial...

A brief editorial...and a brief request

John R. Cannon
Editor and Publisher

Article One

The "Socialization" and Enculturation of Ecologists in Formal and Informal Settings


G. Michael Bowen
Lakehead University


Wolff-Michael Roth
University of Victoria


Ethnographic studies of scientists and science rarely focus on either the enculturation of scientists-in-training or field scientists (particularly biologists and their "small science" work) but instead focus on experienced scientists who conduct research in laboratory environments. This is relevant to the learning of ecology for the locales where the formal learning about ecology occurs is unlike where ecology research is conducted--laboratory sciences, such as physics and chemistry, learn about the research practices of their discipline in settings similar to the environments in which such research is actually conducted. Drawing on three years of ethnographic work examining the enculturation of ecologists, this paper examines the formal and informal settings in which ecologists learn (about) their discipline and reports on the contributions that each setting makes to learning about the conduct of field research. Often ignored informal aspects of learning about the conduct of ecology research, such as story telling in "leisure" settings, are revealed as being important to becoming enculturated into ecological field research practices.

Article Two

Standardized Testing in Physics via the World Wide Web


Dan MacIsaac
Northern Arizona University

Rebecca Pollard Cole
Northern Arizona Center for Excellence in Education

David M. Cole
Northern Arizona University

Laura McCullough
University of Wisconsin-Stout


Jim Maxka
Northern Arizona University


On-line web-based technologies provide students with the opportunity to complete assessment instruments from personal computers with internet access. The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in paper-based and web-based administrations of a commonly used assessment instrument, the Force Concept Inventory (FCI). Results demonstrated no appreciable difference on FCI scores or FCI items based on the type of administration. A 4 way ANOVA (N = 376) demonstrated expected differences in FCI scores due to different sections of the same sections, different courses and gender. However, none of these differences was influenced by the type of test administration. Similarly, FCI student scores were comparable with respect to both test reliability and predictive validity. For individual FCI items, paper-based and web-based comparisons were made by examining potential differences in item means and by examining potential differences in response patterns. Chi Squares demonstrated no differences in response patterns and t Tests demonstrated no differences in item means between paper-based and web-based administrations. In summary, the web-based administration of the Force Concept Inventory appears to be as efficacious as the paper-based administration.

Article Three

The Tension Between HyperText Environments and Science Learning


Gregory R. MacKinnon
Acadia University

Charles P. McFadden
University of New Brunswick


Therese Forsythe
Northeast Kings Education Centre


Computer technology has afforded opportunities to design science curriculum experiences that capitalize on hypertext environments. Though these settings may provide students with flexibility as they explore science the question remains, does science inherently favor sequential approaches to curriculum? This paper addresses the tension this creates using as an example an action research study of a high school acid-base chemistry unit.

Editor's note: Due to the nature of the embedded graphics and formatting of this article, it has been saved as both a PDF file (above) and also a MS Word file. To download the MS Word version, click here.

Article Four

The Effects of English Language Proficiency and Scientific Reasoning Skills on the Acquisition of Science Content Knowledge by Hispanic English Language Learners and Native English Language Speaking Students


Hector N. Torres
University of Massachusetts, Lowell


Dana L. Zeidler
University of South Florida


The purpose of this paper was to examine the effects of English language proficiency and levels of reasoning skills of Hispanic English language learners and native English language speaking students on their acquisition of science content knowledge as measured by a state-wide standardized science test. The authors suggest that the levels of English language proficiency appear to influence the acquisition of science content knowledge of Hispanic English language learners in the study. The results also suggest that with regards to reasoning skills, students that showed high levels or reflective reasoning skills for the most part performed better on the statewide-standardized science test than students with intuitive or transitional reasoning skills. Furthermore, the findings of the paper imply that high order English language proficiency combined with high levels of reasoning skills enhances students' abilities to learn science content subject matter.

Special Section: Resources and Programs in Higher Education

compiled by David T. Crowther, Associate Editor, EJSE

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