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Alternative Conceptions and the Geoscience Concept Inventory Heather L. Petcovic - What are alternative conceptions? - The Geoscience Concept Inventory.

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Presentation on theme: "Alternative Conceptions and the Geoscience Concept Inventory Heather L. Petcovic - What are alternative conceptions? - The Geoscience Concept Inventory."— Presentation transcript:

1 Alternative Conceptions and the Geoscience Concept Inventory Heather L. Petcovic - What are alternative conceptions? - The Geoscience Concept Inventory (GCI) - Example: alternative conceptions among preservice K-8 teachers - Collaborator: Robert Ruhf

2 What Are Alternative Conceptions? - Concept or idea not consistent with the accepted scientific idea - Misconception - Naïve conception - Prior conception - NOT a mistake - Deeply ingrained and resistant to change. Examples: - Cause of the seasons (A Private Universe, 1987) - Ideas about the earths interior (Libarkin and Anderson, 2005)

3 A very brief history of alternative conceptions research - Early work: 1920s - 60s …learning is the result of the interaction between what the student is taught and his current ideas or concepts. (Posner et al., 1982, p. 211) - Conceptual change research: 1970s - 80s Identification of specific beliefs and concepts held by students, how these ideas change (or do not change) during instruction (e.g., Driver and Easley, 1978; Viennot, 1979) - Development of assessment tools: 1990s - Physics: FCI (Hestenes, et al., 1992) - Chemistry: CCI (Mulford, 1996)

4 The Geoscience Concept Inventory -Developed by Julie Libarkin and Steve Anderson (Libarkin and Anderson, 2006; Libarkin et al., 2005; Libarkin and Anderson, 2005) - What prior knowledge do students bring to the classroom? - How does knowledge change during instruction? /43u/classroom.jpg /43u/classroom.jpg

5 The Geoscience Concept Inventory - Qualitative data: interviews, drawings (N>1000) -Developed ~75 multiple-choice questions based on responses -Validity and reliability testing (IRT and DIF) -> 69 items Test construction: - Select 15 questions to create individual sub-test -Sub-tests are of statistically similar difficulty A. One large landmass surrounded by water B. All water and no land C. Similar to todayD. Mostly molten rock and no water E. We have no way of knowing 7. What did the Earth's surface look like when it first formed?

6 Self-Score Your GCI No. Correct Response 1C 2 A, D only 3 C only 4 A, B, C only 5A 6C 7 D only 8C9C 10 A, B, C, D, and E 11D 12D 13B 14D 15C Give yourself one point per correct answer (no partial credit). How did you do?

7 GCI Results: Alternative conceptions among undergraduates Libarkin and Anderson (2005): - Introductory geoscience students (USA) Pretest N = ~2500 Posttest N = ~ Included variety of institutions, class sizes, instructional methods Findings: - Test is difficult with little gain Pre-test mean = 41.5% Post-test mean = 42.2% - Students with poorest scores on the pre-test leave with greatest knowledge gains; advanced students show little gains - Extreme persistence of entrenched ideas

8 GCI Results: Alternative conceptions among preservice teachers - Earth Science for Elementary Educators, 6 sections, 2 instructors Pre-test n = 122 Post-test n = 102 Matched = 89 Example study: - Research questions: (1) What alternative conceptions do preservice elementary (K-8) teachers hold? (2) How do these alternative conceptions change during this course? -Method: -Pretest/posttest -Quantitative analysis

9 GCI Results: Alternative conceptions among preservice teachers All class sectionsAll class sections No significant difference on pretest scores among sections (one way ANOVA p value = 0.54) No significant difference on pretest scores among sections (one way ANOVA p value = 0.54) Pretest mean 43.9% (N=122) Pretest mean 43.9% (N=122) Posttest mean 48.1% (N=102) Posttest mean 48.1% (N=102) Mean gain of 4.8%; sections 3-6 mean gain of 6.5%Mean gain of 4.8%; sections 3-6 mean gain of 6.5%

10 GCI Results: Alternative conceptions among preservice teachers Gains on individual items Overall largest gains of any item (+38%)Overall largest gains of any item (+38%) Result of course activity?Result of course activity? 28. Which of the figures below do you think most closely represents changes in life on Earth over time? Choose one:

11 GCI Results: Alternative conceptions among preservice teachers Entrenchment of prior knowledge No students chose only correct response (pretest or posttest)No students chose only correct response (pretest or posttest) 25% gain in correct response on posttest25% gain in correct response on posttest All students chose other distracters in addition to correct responseAll students chose other distracters in addition to correct response 1. Some scientists claim that they can determine when the Earth first formed as a planet. Which technique(s) do scientists use today to determine when the Earth first formed? Choose all that apply. (A) Comparison of fossils found in rocks (B) Comparison of different layers of rock (C) Analysis of uranium and lead in rock (D) Analysis of carbon in rock (E) Scientists cannot calculate the age of the Earth ABC* D E

12 Whats Next? GCI Web Center Community effort to improve the GCI Contribute items in additional content areasContribute items in additional content areas Comment and feedback to improve itemsComment and feedback to improve items Create tests and test students onlineCreate tests and test students online


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