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Surveys fail to measure grasp of scientific practice Documents

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Surveys fail to measure grasp of scientific practice 

written by Irene Y. Salter and Leslie J. Atkins

There is debate in the science education literature about how best to improve students' understanding of the nature of science: Can an "immersion" experience in the process of doing science like scientists outperform explicit instruction on the nature of science? Central in resolving that debate is the development of appropriate measures of students' understanding of the nature of science. We report on a course in which students engaged in sophisticated scientific practices, and yet student responses to a standard nature of science survey showed surprisingly few pre-post changes. We argue that this data suggests that when students do science like scientists do, they gain a grasp of scientific practice that cannot be measured by declarative means such as surveys and interviews.

Published January 24, 2013
Last Modified July 1, 2013