Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Structure More Effective In High School Science Classes, Study Reveals

Date:
March 28, 2009
Source:
University of Virginia
Summary:
Self-led, self-structured inquiry may be the best method to train scientists at the college level and beyond, but it's not the ideal way for all high school students to prepare for college science. That's according to findings of a new study.

Self-led, self-structured inquiry may be the best method to train scientists at the college level and beyond, but it's not the ideal way for all high school students to prepare for college science.

That's according to findings of a study conducted by University of Virginia professor Robert Tai and Harvard University researcher Philip Sadler. Their study appears in this month's International Journal of Science Education.

Data show that "autonomy doesn't seem to hurt students who are strong in math and may, in fact, have a positive influence on their attitude toward science" Tai said. However, "Students with a weak math background who engaged in self-structured learning practices in high school may do as much as a full letter grade poorer in college science," he said.

Tai, associate professor of education in U.Va.'s Curry School, and Sadler, director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics' Science Education Department, conducted the study, which used data from a national survey of more than 8,000 high school science students.

"The findings suggest that students with lower levels of high school mathematics attainment had greater success in college science when they reported more teacher-structured laboratory experiences in high school," Tai and Sadler report in their study, "Same Science for All? Interactive Association of Structure in Learning Activities and Academic Attainment Background on College Science Performance in the U.S.A."

According to Tai, many secondary science classes are turning to a self-structured method of learning with the notion that students will discover science on their own. "Advocates should be sobered by this study's findings," Tai said.

"Self-structured instructional practices – sometimes referred to as self-led inquiry – have many advocates, but this study suggests that this approach does not fit all students," Tai said. "Giving more guidance to some science students and more freedom to others seems likely to pay off in college."

"Student-led projects and investigations do not appear to be as productive as other approaches to teaching science in high school," Sadler said. "Increasing student autonomy may be motivated by the goal of providing experiences more akin to scientific research, but only the strongest students appear to get much out of such opportunities in most classrooms."

Tai and Sadler point out in their report that it is important for a teacher to carefully decide how much guidance to provide in an inquiry-based teaching approach based on each student's achievement. They write: "Of primary concern is the quality of student work produced in these activities. For many teachers who assign independent inquiry activities and rely on students to design and conduct them, the reality is that while some students may do good work, others languish."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Virginia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Virginia. "Structure More Effective In High School Science Classes, Study Reveals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326114415.htm>.
University of Virginia. (2009, March 28). Structure More Effective In High School Science Classes, Study Reveals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326114415.htm
University of Virginia. "Structure More Effective In High School Science Classes, Study Reveals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326114415.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Is Big Tobacco Voluntarily Warning You About E-Cigs?

Why Is Big Tobacco Voluntarily Warning You About E-Cigs?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Big tobacco companies are voluntarily printing health warnings on their e-cigarette packages — a move some are calling part of a PR strategy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Pediatricians Endorse IUDs, Implants For Teens

Why Pediatricians Endorse IUDs, Implants For Teens

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) New recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics point to intrauterine devices and implants as good forms of birth control for teens. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Corvette Can Secretly Record Convos And Get You Arrested

New Corvette Can Secretly Record Convos And Get You Arrested

Newsy (Sep. 28, 2014) The 2015 Corvette features valet mode – which allows the owner to secretly record audio and video – but in many states that practice is illegal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins