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  1. A comparison study on American and Chinese secondary students’ learning progression for carbon cycling in socio-ecological systemsAmerican and Chinese Secondary Students’ Written Accounts of Carbon Cycling in Socio-ecological Systems 2009 AERA Poster Presentation Written by: Jing Chen, Charles W. Anderson (Michigan State University) and Xinghua Jin (Shanghai College of Business) Culturally relevant ecology, learning progressions and environmental literacy Long Term Ecological Research Math Science Partnership April 2009 Disclaimer: This research is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation: Targeted Partnership: Culturally relevant ecology, learning progressions and environmental literacy (NSF-0832173). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

  2. American and Chinese Secondary Students’ Written Accounts of Carbon Cycling in Socio-ecological Systems Jing Chen1, Charles, W. Anderson1, & Xinghua Jin21Michigan State University, 2Shanghai College of Business Results: 1. American and Chinese students’ accounts for tracing matter and tracing energy Research Purpose & Question Similar misconceptions: 1) confuse matter with energy; unable to trace matter and energy separately 2) confuse global warming with ozone depletion 3) energy is released when chemical bonds are broken Differences: 1) For tracing matter items, Chinese students included chemical equations more often (9% v.s. 2%). They used the term “organic” and “inorganic” much more often than American students. 2) For tracing energy items, Chinese students included names of energy forms and mentioned energy conservation principle commonly, but they generally did not successfully use the principle as a tool to reason about carbon transforming processes, especially in photosynthesis and biosynthesis. The United States and China currently account for 40% of the world’s emissions. It is urgent for their citizens to be more environmentally literate. We investigate American and Chinese students’ learning progression of carbon cycle as a first step to find out ways to improve science education in these countries to help more students to be environmentally literate. In addition, we explore whether students in other countries under different science education systems and cultures still share similar patterns in their development of scientific knowledge and practice. Our research questions are: How do American and Chinese students compare in terms of the accounts they give for carbon transforming processes and for fundamental matter/energy conservation principles? 2) What are the implications for the validity of learning progression levels for the two groups? How do difficulties of a set of items developed by our research project compare for American and Chinese students? 3) How do general achievement levels compare for American students and Chinese students? Research Methods Results 2. Empirical Validation of levels for American and Chinese groups • Participants • 600 American and Chinese students in total (300 American; 300 Chinese; 150 at middle school level and 150 at high school level for each country) • American students are from 2 middle and 3 high Michigan public schools (rural/suburban; the average ACT science scores for these schools are close to the state average) • Chinese students are from 2 middle and 2 high non-key public schools in Shanghai (urban schools, ranked around the middle of all schools in districts according to their admission scores) Level 4: Model-based accounts Level 3: “School Science” Narratives Level 2: Causal Sequences of Events with Hidden Mechanisms Level 1:Separate Macroscopic Narratives The level 3 and level 4 thresholds are more clustered together in the American Wright map than in the Chinese Wright map The step difficulties from level 3 to level 4 are lower for Chinese students. This item is easier for Chinese students to reach level 4 • Assessment items • The assessment items are basically the same for both groups (developed in English, then translated into Chinese) • The translated items were tried out first • 31 Items in total; each item measures one process • 3 test forms, items for each process and for each principle appear evenly on each form • the majority of middle and high school items overlap • One student answer one test form (10~12 items) • For each item, we collected 100~200 student responses from each country. In general, the order of item difficulties is different for these two groups. American students perform better for photosynthesis, digestion & biosynthesis, and large-scale items; Chinese students perform better for cellular respiration and combustion items. These items are harder for Chinese students to reach level 1. The level 1 and level 2 thresholds are more clustered together in the American Wright map than in the Chinese Wright map Conclusions and Implications • Share similar general trends of learning progression from force-dynamic to scientific model-based reasoning; perform differently for tracing matter and tracing energy principles. • Similar general distribution of responses at each level for both groups; only small percentages of responses reached level 4 in both groups. • Chinese students may follow the learning progression differently compare to American students (Levels of Achievement is less empirically valid for Chinese data than it is for American data) • The order of item difficulties is different for these two groups. Implications: • It is urgent to improve science education in both nations to help more students shift to high-level understanding. • American science education could pay more attention to developing students’ chemical understanding and mastery of fundamental principles. • Chinese science education could place more emphasis on developing real understanding besides knowledge memorizing. • Chinese science education could develop students’ science interdisciplinary knowledge to help them connect multiple carbon transforming processes though multiple scales. Results 3. Distribution among levels • Data analysis: • Code a small sample of Chinese responses first using previously developed Levels of Achievement and Exemplar Workbook • Code the rest of responses, keeping track of whether the achievement levels could distinguish all Chinese responses among levels • The American data were coded using the same coding rubrics • Use partial credit model to analyze American and Chinese students’ data separately • Empirical Validation of Learning progression levels using Chinese data • Whether Levels have predictive power? (Students should show similar Levels of Achievement for Learning Performances associated with different Progress Variable.) • American and Chinese students’ responses are distributed similarly across levels • Both American and Chinese students shift toward higher levels from middle school to high school • For both groups, only a small proportion of students’ responses reach level 4 • More Chinese high school students gave level 3, level 4 responses, and more American high school students gave level 1 responses. More American middle school students gave level 3 responses.