Frequency, Duration, and Time Devoted to Elementary Science Instruction and the Association with Science Achievement and Science Interest
Almarode, John Taylor, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Tai, Robert, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Although the United States continues to lead in many STEM areas (i.e., research and design and productivity), the Science and Engineering Indicators (NSB, 2010) suggest that the country is experiencing an erosion of its STEM advantage, ultimately losing the edge in each of these areas. Looking at trends in K-12 science, the 2010 National Science Board report indicated that the United States' position among selected countries declined in fourth grade science (NSB, 2010). This trend raises concern about the lagging student interest in the natural sciences, and thus the fate of science achievement outcomes for students in the United States. The research questions addressed in this study were: What is the pattern of growth for first-time kindergartners in science achievement from the end of third grade to the end of eighth grade? Controlling for differences in student demographics, are gains that first-time kindergartners make in science achievement from the end of third grade to the end of eighth grade associated with the frequency, duration, and time devoted to science in the third grade? Controlling for differences in student demographics is the frequency, duration, and time devoted to science in the third grade associated with the students' interest in eighth grade science? A subset of the variables contained in the ECLS-K: Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 data set and a subsample of the cohort of students in the ECLS- K data set. An unconditional growth model indicated that science achievement followed a nonlinear pattern with significant individual variation in trajectories. In addition, students beginning with lower initial science achievement experience more rapid growth than those students beginning with higher initial science achievement. A conditional growth model suggested that the frequency of science in the third grade was a significant predictor of the achievement trajectory in science above and beyond demographic variables. The duration of science in the third grade was not a significant predictor of the achievement trajectory in science. The results of a linear regression analysis suggested that the frequency and duration of third grade science was not associated with science interest in the eighth grade.
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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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