Proposal Title

Assessment of Scientific Reasoning as an Institutional Outcome

Co-Authors

None.

Track

Research Project / Assessment of Student Learning

Proposal Abstract

The US Air Force Academy has established 9 institutional outcomes that are broadly consistent with those of civilian institutions. Each is assessed by a team of 5 - 10 faculty and staff members with expertise in the outcome domain. Student achievement of the "Scientific Reasoning and Principles of Science" was assessed in the 2012-13 academic year by sampling 203 students distributed across freshman-to-senior class years. Two assessment instruments used; these will be distributed and reviewed. They were: (a) an in-house survey of student understanding of the Nature of Science, and (b) the Lawson test of scientific reasoning. Students showed statistically significant gains in both scores between the sophomore and junior years. Student understanding of the Nature of Science did not differ by program of study, but students in the basic sciences and engineering scored significantly higher than students in the humanities on the scientific reasoning assessment. Overall, students were weakest when answering questions related to (a) proportional reasoning, (b) isolation of variables, and (c) if-then reasoning. These findings are being incorporated into a redesign of the core curriculum to enhance continuity among science courses in presenting the Nature of Science, and coordination among basic science courses to align efforts to teach scientific reasoning.

Session Format

Presentation Session

Location

Room 212

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Apr 1st, 11:00 AM Apr 1st, 11:45 AM

Assessment of Scientific Reasoning as an Institutional Outcome

Room 212

The US Air Force Academy has established 9 institutional outcomes that are broadly consistent with those of civilian institutions. Each is assessed by a team of 5 - 10 faculty and staff members with expertise in the outcome domain. Student achievement of the "Scientific Reasoning and Principles of Science" was assessed in the 2012-13 academic year by sampling 203 students distributed across freshman-to-senior class years. Two assessment instruments used; these will be distributed and reviewed. They were: (a) an in-house survey of student understanding of the Nature of Science, and (b) the Lawson test of scientific reasoning. Students showed statistically significant gains in both scores between the sophomore and junior years. Student understanding of the Nature of Science did not differ by program of study, but students in the basic sciences and engineering scored significantly higher than students in the humanities on the scientific reasoning assessment. Overall, students were weakest when answering questions related to (a) proportional reasoning, (b) isolation of variables, and (c) if-then reasoning. These findings are being incorporated into a redesign of the core curriculum to enhance continuity among science courses in presenting the Nature of Science, and coordination among basic science courses to align efforts to teach scientific reasoning.