Improving Student Attitudes about Learning Science and Student Scientific Reasoning Skills
Student attitudes about learning science and student ideas about the nature of science were compared at the end of two astronomy courses taught in Fall 2007, a course with a traditional astronomy curriculum and a transformed course, whose traditional astronomy curriculum was supplemented by an embedded curriculum that explicitly addressed the nature of science and student metacognition (i.e., thinking about one’s own thinking.) The embedded curriculum in the transformed course gave students practice at evaluating examples of valid science and pseudoscience found on the internet; it also provided students opportunities to discuss what they think about learning science. Student attitudes and ideas were assessed using the epistemological beliefs assessment for physical science (EBAPS) survey, interviews, and written responses to an open-ended exam question. Our results indicate that the embedded curriculum led the majority of students in the transformed course to think that anyone can learn science, whereas a majority of students in the traditional course thought that only individuals with innate abilities can learn science and think scientifically. Students in the transformed course also reported much more confidence in their ability to evaluate the scientific validity of information found on the internet. Furthermore, students from the transformed course valued making sense of science more than students from the traditional course. The embedded curriculum could readily be used in any course for nonscience majors, not just introductory astronomy.
Duncan, D. K., & Arthurs, L. (2012). Improving student attitudes about learning science and student scientific reasoning skills.