Evaluation Of Conceptual Frameworks In Astronomy

Pundak, David (2016) Evaluation Of Conceptual Frameworks In Astronomy. Problems of Education in the 21st Century, 69. ISSN 1822-7864

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Official URL: http://www.scientiasocialis.lt/pec/node/1004

Abstract

Even though astronomy is the oldest science, it is still an open question how to evaluate students’ understanding in astronomy. In spite of the fact that some methods and evaluation tools have been developed for that purpose, the sources of students' difficulties in astronomy are still unclear. This paper presents an investigation of the changes in conceptual frameworks in astronomy among 50 engineering students as a result of learning a general course in astronomy. A special tool called Conceptual Frameworks in Astronomy (CFA), which was initially used in 1989, was adopted to gather data for the present research. In its new version, the tool includes 23 questions and five to six optional answers to each question. Each of the answers characterizes one of the four conceptual frameworks: pre-scientific, geocentric, heliocentric and sidereal. These four conceptual frameworks act as a taxonomical system that enables us to evaluate astronomical understanding. The paper describes the background of the CFA, its development, and discusses its validity and reliability. Using the CFA we were able to: (1) identify the students’ conceptual frameworks at the beginning of the course and at its end, (2) to evaluate the students’ paradigmatic change following the course. It was found that the measure of the students’ improvement (gain index) was g = 0.37. Approximately 45% of the students in the course improved their conceptual frameworks in astronomy and 26% deepened their understanding of the heliocentric or sidereal conceptual frameworks. The CFA can also be applied as an evaluation tool in all schools and institutions that teach astronomy.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Astronomy Education Research
Depositing User: Mr Saeed Salimpour
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2018 03:56
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2018 09:25
URI: http://istardb.org/id/eprint/1863

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