A STUDY OF EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE IN THE COMMUNITY (EARTHCOMM) IN TERMS OF ITS CONGRUENCY WITH THE VISIONS IN THE NATIONAL SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS AND ITS EFFECTIVENESS IN IMPROVING STUDENT LEARNING
This study was conducted to investigate the science content of the National Science Foundation-funded Earth System Science in the Community (EarthComm) curriculum in terms of its congruency with the National Science Education Standards (NSES) and its effectiveness in improving student learning. Thirty-one high schools across the nation participated in the study during the 1999 ?2000 academic year. Three textbooks (EarthComm and the most used in the US and Korea) were compared in terms of questioning type and level of laboratory activities. Data gathered from field-testing EarthComm Modules I and II were analyzed to find any significant changes between pre- and post- tests. The major findings are:
1. EarthComm includes the most pages and laboratory activities while organized with the least number of chapters and concepts among the three textbooks.
2. EarthComm includes the most questions which are classified as experiential. Non-experiential questions included in EarthComm tend to be 몂pen-ended.?
3. Higher-order thinking questions are featured in EarthComm; these include inferring and applying questions.
4. Most laboratory activities found in EarthComm are level 1 in which problems and methods/procedures are given with only answers left open.
5. Student learning was enhanced by EarthComm when taught by teachers whose philosophy agreed with the NSES. Conversely, student scores were not significantly
increased in classrooms of teachers whose philosophy was not in agreement with the
6. EarthComm does not significantly impact student achievement in terms of school size and the type of community (urban and rural) in which the school is located.
7. Student achievement scores are significantly lower in EarthComm classes with high rates of minority (non-white) students.
8. The differences in student achievement scores between the highly experienced teachers and new teachers is not statistically significant for Module I test while significant for Module II.
9. Student higher-order thinking skills are significantly improved in EarthComm classes.
These findings indicate that EarthComm provides a needed program in earth science to meet the visions of the NSES.
Park, Do-Yong, Ph.D.
The University of Iowa, 2001
Thesis supervisor: Robert E. Yager