Knowing By Engagement: Measuring elementary students’ practical epistemologies Mary Grace Villanueva ▪ Brian Hand Department of Teaching and Learning, University of Iowa LearnLab ▪ Carnegie Mellon University August 5, 2012 Science Writing Heuristic (SWH) Framework that requires the implementation of inquiry strategies, embedded language and argumentation practices (Keys & Hand, 1999) • Argumentation-based Inquiry – Construction and Critique (Ford, 2007) – Inquiry + semiotic tools (Fang, 2005, Seah, Clarke, & Hart, 2010) • Learning through immersion (Cavagnetto, 2010) – Authentic learning environments (Bransford & Schwartz, 1999) – Problem-based learning; Instruction-assisted learning • Writing – Constituting, cognitive processes (Klein, 2003) Cornell Critical Thinking (CCT) Skills Tests YEAR 1 Two-sample t-tests conducted on the 5th grade CCT data SWH students (n=1,154) had significantly higher gains overall (p=.002), compared to control students (n=882) “What does this mean?” i. Do students view science and learning differently? ii. What do they take out of their science classes that will help them learn in the future? Personal Epistemology • Epistemic beliefs are related to aspects of students’ learning including achievement, motivation, cognitive engagement and strategy use • Measuring epistemic beliefs, e.g., Epistemological Questionnaire (Schommer, 1990), Epistemic Beliefs Inventory (Schraw, Bendixen, & Dunkle, 2002), and the Epistemological Beliefs Survey (Wood & Kardash, 2002) Epistemic Beliefs of Elementary Students Elder, 1999, 2002 Conley, Pintrich, Vekiri and Harrison (2004) i. Purpose of science ii. Changing nature of science iii. Role of experiments in developing scientific theories i. ii. iii. iv. iv. Coherence of science v. Source of science knowledge Source Certainty Judgment Development School Science vs. Formal Science • Naïve systems of beliefs about the nature of knowledge and the processes of knowing (Hofer & Pintrich, 1997) in science • May contrast with their beliefs about the thinking and activities that scientists do (Driver, et al., 1996) • Sandoval (2005) proposes that students’ perceptions about professional or formal science may not be suitable for providing insight to how they perceive their own inquiry efforts (p.649) Students’ epistemologies are rooted in practice rather than general conceptions about the scientific enterprise (e.g. Lehrer, Schauble & Lucas, 2008). Epistemic Beliefs • “Situated and contextual nature” of beliefs (Hofer & Pintrich, 1997, p. 124) • Informed by complementary analyses of the learning environment and content with which students engage • Need for a “double track approach” (Franco, Muis, Kendeou, Ranellucci, Sampasivama, & Wang, 2012) Science education research has not adequately captured or understood students’ practical epistemologies or, “the epistemological ideas that students apply to their own scientific knowledge building through inquiry” (Sandoval, 2005, p. 635) Rationale There is a limited knowledge base regarding the way in which students: 1) Understand the nature and development of scientific knowledge, and 2) Participate productively in science practices and discourse (Duschl, 2008) There is a critical need to understand students’ beliefs about the processes knowledge production in current instructional settings. To understand how elementary students: • Develop their beliefs about the nature of knowledge based on the processes of knowing; • Perceive their individual and social participation in the classroom scientific community via productive ways of representing ideas, using scientific tools and interacting with peers (National Research Council, 2007) • Dispositions?? Dispositions in Science Learning Survey (DSS) (Villanueva, Hand, & McGill, in progress) • Self-report survey • Measures elementary students’ practical epistemologies stemming from the context of their science classroom • 30-item • Likert scale • Pre/post and longitudinal • In conjunction with descriptions of students’ science practices and classroom environments 1. I use the skills I learn in science to help me in other subjects. 2. In science, I use different types of data to generate evidence. 3. My group members help me see things from a different perspective. 4. I question or challenge my classmates’ ideas in science. 5. I make decisions about my classmates’ claims only after I listen to their evidence. 6. My ideas about science change during or after an investigation. Pilot 2.2 Pilot 1 • 6 questions • (n= 800, treatment and control) • 20 items • (n= 124, SWH) Open-ended Questionnaire • 30 items • (n= 106; 24 treatment, 82 control) Pilot 2.1 Validation measures: Student interviews and think alouds (n=42) Content experts Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses • (n= 1056; 598 treatment, 468 control) Preliminary Findings Pilot 2.1 1. 2. 3. 4. Certainty and Development Public and Private Negotiation Structure of Argument Transfer Goodness-of-Fit Indicators for Practical Epistemology Survey (n=106, in progress);Cronbach’s alpha .97; p<0.001 Renamed Factors? 1. 2. 3. 4. Epistemic, ontological and metacognitive beliefs about knowing and knowledge Perceptions about learning in the public domain and private reflections Attitude ascribed toward peer interactions in an argumentative context Value of application of knowledge and skills a) To detect changes to students’ beliefs about the processes by which knowledge is achieved; b) Identify epistemic dispositions and beliefs that may or may not be in line in achieving the epistemic aims and values of a particular approach; c) Monitor the process of change, and; d) Understand how students’ formal epistemologies are developed and informed by the learning opportunities afforded in their science classrooms. Acknowledgements The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grants R305A090094 and R305B10005 to The University of Iowa. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.