The effect of schooling upon understanding of selected science terms

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Abstract

Eight science terms were studied as to their meanings for 9-, 13-, and 17-year-old students randomly selected from a single school district in the midwest. The results indicate that the school is ineffective in increasing numbers of students who master the select terms between seventh and eleventh grade. On three of the eight terms 9-year-olds perform as well as 17-year-old students. Although there is growth between ages 9 and 13 on degree of mastery for five terms, some of these differences can be attributed to increasing student abilities to read, increases in student experiences with school science and testing procedures, maturation and development of reasoning for students across grades, and the relative emphasis of science content/terminology for the various age levels.

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