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Science and Education
written by Rosemary S. Russ, Janet E. Coffey, David Hammer, and Paul Hutchison
When teachers or students assess the quality of ideas in science classes, they do so mostly based on textbook correctness; ideas are good to the extent they align with or lead to the content as presented in the textbook or curriculum. Such appeals to authority are at odds with the values and practices within the disciplines of science. There has been significant amount of attention to this mismatch in the science education research literature, primarily with respect to experimentation and argumentation as core disciplinary means of assessing ideas. In this article, we call attention to another aspect of scientific reasoning: a focus on causal mechanisms in explaining natural phenomena. We highlight examples and research from the history and philosophy of science to clarify what scientists mean by "mechanism" and to make the case for its centrality. We then present an excerpt from a second-grade class in which a student provides an incorrect mechanistic explanation, and the teacher gives priority to textbook correctness. As the conversation proceeds, the student shifts from mechanistic sensemaking to quoting terminology she does not understand. We argue that attention to mechanism in the classroom would better support student reasoning and better reflect disciplinary epistemology.
Science and Education: Volume 93, Issue 5, Pages 875-891
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Alternative Conceptions
- Assessment
= Methods
- Communication
- Sample Population
= Age: Early Childhood
- Elementary School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
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Formats:
application/pdf
non-digital
Mirror:
http://www.sesp.northwestern.edu/…
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The article is available via subscription or purchase. A preprint is available.
Restriction:
© 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
DOI:
10.1002/sce.20320
NSF Numbers:
9986846
0440113
0227557
Keywords:
assessment methods, disciplinary epistemology, scientific reasoning
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created August 3, 2012 by Zachary Davis
Record Updated:
May 28, 2013 by Vince Kuo
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 1, 2009
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Record Link
AIP Format
R. Russ, J. Coffey, D. Hammer, and P. Hutchison, Sci. & Educ. 93 (5), 875 (2009), WWW Document, (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sce.20320).
AJP/PRST-PER
R. Russ, J. Coffey, D. Hammer, and P. Hutchison, Making classroom assessment more accountable to scientific reasoning: A case for attending to mechanistic thinking, Sci. & Educ. 93 (5), 875 (2009), <http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sce.20320>.
APA Format
Russ, R., Coffey, J., Hammer, D., & Hutchison, P. (2009, September 1). Making classroom assessment more accountable to scientific reasoning: A case for attending to mechanistic thinking. Sci. & Educ., 93(5), 875-891. Retrieved November 26, 2014, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sce.20320
Chicago Format
Russ, R, J. Coffey, D. Hammer, and P. Hutchison. "Making classroom assessment more accountable to scientific reasoning: A case for attending to mechanistic thinking." Sci. & Educ. 93, no. 5, (September 1, 2009): 875-891, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sce.20320 (accessed 26 November 2014).
MLA Format
Russ, Rosemary, Janet Coffey, David Hammer, and Paul Hutchison. "Making classroom assessment more accountable to scientific reasoning: A case for attending to mechanistic thinking." Sci. & Educ. 93.5 (2009): 875-891. 26 Nov. 2014 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sce.20320>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Rosemary Russ and Janet Coffey and David Hammer and Paul Hutchison", Title = {Making classroom assessment more accountable to scientific reasoning: A case for attending to mechanistic thinking}, Journal = {Sci. & Educ.}, Volume = {93}, Number = {5}, Pages = {875-891}, Month = {September}, Year = {2009} }
Refer Export Format

%A Rosemary Russ
%A Janet Coffey
%A David Hammer
%A Paul Hutchison
%T Making classroom assessment more accountable to scientific reasoning: A case for attending to mechanistic thinking
%J Sci. & Educ.
%V 93
%N 5
%D September 1, 2009
%P 875-891
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sce.20320
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article
%A Russ, Rosemary
%A Coffey, Janet
%A Hammer, David
%A Hutchison, Paul
%D September 1, 2009
%T Making classroom assessment more accountable to scientific reasoning: A case for attending to mechanistic thinking
%J Sci. & Educ.
%V 93
%N 5
%P 875-891
%8 September 1, 2009
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sce.20320


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