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ISSN 1087-3430 Vol. 7 - No. 3 - March 2003


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


Editor's note: The EJSE will no longer be published in HTML as of February 2003. The format that will be used in future publications will be 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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Guest Editorial...

Let Us Not Leave Any Qualified Teacher of Science Behind

by

John R. Staver
Center for for Science Education
Kansas State University

Article One

Sisters in Sport Science: A Sport-Oriented Science and Mathematics Enrichment Program

by

Penny L. Hammrich, Ph.D.
phammric@vm.temple.edu

Kathy Fadigan, Ed.D.
Tina Sloan Green
Temple University

Greer M. Richardson, Ph.D.
LaSalle University

Beverly Livingston, Ph.D.
Widener University


Abstract

Sisters in Sport Science(SISS) addresses the need for urban girls to gain equitable access to science and mathematics education by using sport as a vehicle for learning. Specifically this need is based on the rising public concern over the equity gap in science and mathematics; recognition of the significant impact intervention programs targeting urban girls have on school success; and the call for systemic educational reforms that recognize the limits girls face in post secondary education and employment opportunities.

Article Two

Students' Problem Solving Strategies in Stoichiometry and their Relationships to Conceptual Understanding and Learning Approaches

by

Saouma BouJaoude
boujaoud@aub.edu.lb

and

Hala Barakat
American University of Beirut


Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe and classify the strategies high school students use when solving stoichiometry problems and compare and contrast problem solving strategies of students with different learning approaches and different conceptual understanding levels. Subjects were forty students enrolled in two sections of a Grade 11 class in a highly selective private school in Lebanon. Three sources of data were utilized in this study: The Learning Approach Questionnaire (LAQ), the Stoichiometry Test, and unstructured interviews. The problem solving strategies used by the students were classified into three categories: correct strategies, incorrect strategies, and incomplete strategies. The correct strategies were further subdivided into algorithmic, efficient, and messy while the incorrect strategies were subdivided into Incorrect strategies-Incorrect answer and Incorrect strategies-Correct answer. Results showed that learning approach was not related to conceptual understanding or to specific types of problem solving strategies and that the overwhelming number of strategies used were algorithmic with very few efficient ones. Moreover, conceptual understanding was found to be a determining factor in students' success in solving the problems.


Article Three

Interactive and Affective Behaviors of Teaching Assistants in a First Year Physics Laboratory

by

Zahra Hazari

A.W. Key
key@physics.utoronto.ca

and

John Pitre
University of Toronto


Abstract

In this study, we identified interactive and affective behaviors of laboratory teaching assistants that are directly related to student satisfaction and student attitude towards the physics laboratory. Our data came from systematic observation of nine teaching assistants, student evaluations, and student marks. Analysis of the student evaluations and the student marks showed that students were able to make judgments regarding their teaching assistant that were independent of their assigned grade. We found a significant positive correlation between favorable student evaluations and the fraction of interactions in the laboratory that were initiated by the teaching assistant as well as the total interaction frequency. We also found that student evaluations were positively correlated with affective categories that we identified. The results of this study indicate that the proactive interaction and affective demeanor of a teaching assistant are good predictors of student enjoyment and appreciation of the physics laboratory.


Higher Education in Environmental Sciences: The Effects of Incorporating Expert Information in Group Discussions of a Transdisciplinary Case Study

by

Ralf Hansmann
hansmann@env.ethz.ch

Roland W. Scholz
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH), Switzerland

Helmut W. Crott
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg i. Br., Germany

Harald A. Mieg
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH), Switzerland


Abstract

This article analyzes the impact of expert information on learning effects of students who participated in a transdisciplinary case study as part of a curriculum of Higher Education in Environmental Sciences. 80 master program students of Environmental Natural Sciences at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich in their fourth year were involved in a case study on ecological regional planning. The study included a field experiment, which examined how different formats of group discussions influence the students' judgments on impact relations (IRs) between variables relevant to the case. The formats were (a) conventional group discussions, versus (b) group discussions including the preliminary disclosure of expert judgments. The analysis showed that in the experimental and the control groups, the students' individual judgments approached the expert judgments in the course of the discussions. This tendency was significantly stronger in the groups where the expert estimates were disclosed. However, there were only minor differences between the two conditions with respect to the students' confidence in their judgments. A longitudinal analysis comparing the students' judgments at the beginning vs. at the end of the case study showed that the judgments approached the expert judgments during the case study. This was true for IRs where expert information was given as part of the experiment, as well as for IRs where no expert information was given. The discussion addresses possible didactical conclusions and perspectives for further research.


Special Section: Resources and Programs in Higher Education

compiled by David T. Crowther, Associate Editor, EJSE




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