A study of student outcomes and teacher characteristics in exemplary middle and junior high science programs



Recent efforts of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have encouraged collaborative “research partnerships” between university researchers and classroom science teachers. This research partners study, begun in 1987, examined student outcomes and teacher characteristics in middle/junior high exemplary programs identified by the NSTA's Search for Excellence in Science Education (SESE). A second year of the study has been completed involving SESE program teachers with similar instructional profiles. Using Iowa Test of Basic Skills and National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) items, key teachers in those SESE programs examined their seventh- and eighth-grade student outcomes in three domains: (a) knowledge, (b) attitudes, and (c) applications/connections. Results were compared with national populations. A similar study was conducted during the second year, involving teachers from the first year and additional teachers with instructional practice profiles similar to those in SESE programs. Teachers were surveyed using a questionnaire from the Report of the 1977 National Survey of Science, Mathematics and Social Studies Education Teachers (Weiss, 1978a) and supplemental questions (Bonnstetter, 1985). This study found that in exemplary middle/junior high programs: (a) as a group, students achieve high scores in science knowledge and maintain or develop positive attitudes toward science; and (b) students need opportunities to make connections between what they learn in science and personal responsibility.