What Are Essential Concepts in “Astronomy 101”? A New Approach to Find Consensus from Two Different Samples of Instructors
In the summers of 1997, 1998, and 1999, we gave attendees (N=44) at a workshop called Teaching Astronomy Conceptually a cognitive task: to rank 200 concepts often taught in “Astronomy 101.” Prior to these workshops, we asked an expert panel (N=18) of Astronomy 101 teachers to also rank these concepts. Among the workshop participants, the electromagnetic spectrum ranked the highest; among the expert panel, mass held the top spot. We then requested the expert panel to perform a cognitive task of judging the relatedness of pairs of terms, and ranked the results based on concepts that were most frequently chosen. We conclude that there is reasonable consensus about essential topics in Astro101 that can be reached using ranking and relatedness tasks.
Zeilik, M., & Morris-Dueer, V. J. 2004, Astronomy Education Review, 3(2), p.61–108