Predicting elementary science learning using national assessment data



This study made use of data collected during 1981—1982 from a random sample of 1960 nine-year-old students from 124 elementary schools involved in a national assessment of educational progress in science sponsored by the National Science Foundation. This data base was used in secondary analyses which probed the validity of a model of educational productivity involving a set of nine aptitudinal, instructional, and environmental variables which require optimization to increase student learning. When controlled for other factors, ability, motivation, class environment, home environment, amount of television viewing (negative direction), gender, and race were all found to be significantly related to achievement. For an attitude outcome, the factors linked with attitudinal attainment were ability, motivation, class environment, and race. Overall the findings supported the model of educational productivity and suggested that elementary science students' achievement and attitude are influenced jointly by a number of factors rather than one or two dominant ones. Also the study attests to the potential value of science education researchers performing secondary analyses on the high-quality random data bases generated as part of this national assessment.