Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Perceptions of student ability, testing pressures hinder some science teachers, study shows

Date:
April 5, 2014
Source:
Boston College
Summary:
Despite a call for the use of a science teaching method called argumentation, teachers in some schools report student abilities and testing pressures restrict the use of this new practice. Furthermore, teachers in low-income schools said the pressure to meet testing requirements curbs the use of argumentation in their lessons, according to the findings.

A survey of science teachers finds they support a new approach to science education, but they struggle to believe that all students are capable of exploring science using a method called argumentation, according to researchers from the Lynch School of Education at Boston College.

Furthermore, teachers in low-income schools said the pressure to meet testing requirements curbs the use of argumentation in their lessons, according to the findings, which were presented today at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting in Philadelphia.

Moving away from rote memorization and generic worksheets, new science education standards favor a practice known as argumentation -- teaching students how to work with information in order to analyze their own ideas, as well as those of others. It is a hands-on approach that explores science through projects and debate, requiring thoughtful lessons for learners of all abilities.

While teachers surveyed say they believe in the value of argumentation, not all think each of their students is capable of benefiting from the practice, according to a survey of teachers conducted by Lynch School of Education Associate Professor Katherine L. McNeill and researcher Rebecca Katsh-Singer and Lawrence Hall of Science science curriculum coordinator Suzanna Loper.

"Teachers expressed concerns that their students did not have the background knowledge or experiences necessary for argumentation," McNeill said. "For example, teachers discussed that their English Language Learners (ELLs) did not have the necessary literacy skills or that their students with special needs lacked basic skills of critical thinking."

In low-income schools, teachers said the pressure to meet performance benchmarks on state tests and other assessments restrict their ability to teach the lessons that argumentation requires.

"Teachers in low income schools described their teaching as driven by standards and the need to ensure that students perform well on state tests," said McNeill. "Many of the teachers discussed how their current state tests focus on the memorization of science facts limiting their ability to include argumentation in their classroom instruction."

The researchers report that solutions may lie in providing teachers in low-income schools the types of support they need to manage accountability pressures, and that teachers from all types of schools need support to view all their students as capable to engage in argumentation.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Boston College. "Perceptions of student ability, testing pressures hinder some science teachers, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140405233849.htm>.
Boston College. (2014, April 5). Perceptions of student ability, testing pressures hinder some science teachers, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140405233849.htm
Boston College. "Perceptions of student ability, testing pressures hinder some science teachers, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140405233849.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

AP (Sep. 17, 2014) The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar. Stocks hit an all-time high on the news. (Sept. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. 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:
from the past week

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