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The Impact of the Materials Explorers Curriculum on Relevance and Attitudes in Science

Connelly, Rebecca (2018) The Impact of the Materials Explorers Curriculum on Relevance and Attitudes in Science. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are in high demand. Over 1 million STEM graduates will be needed by 2022 to meet the projected workforce needs (The Progress Report on Coordinating Federal Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education, 2016). If students are needed to fulfill jobs in areas such as science and engineering, then high school science pedagogy needs to shift from being “unengaging” and “decontextualized” (Bøe, Henriksen, Lyons, & Schreiner, 2011, p. 58) to exciting and relevant.

Students in two sections of Honors Chemistry were evaluated using a series of self-report measures including: audience analyses of the planned and learned curriculum (Remillard, 1999) and a motivation and interest survey adapted from Keller’s (2009) Course Interest Survey (CIS) and Instructional Materials Motivation Survey (IMMS). The purpose of these evaluations was to determine if the Materials ExplorersTM curriculum was relevant to students and the impact of relevant curriculum on students’ attitudes towards science.

The results of this study indicated both Materials ExplorersTM activities led to increased value, satisfaction, interest, and connections to content. The Materials ExplorersTM Practical Prosthetics activity also led to increased content knowledge. A two-way ANOVA revealed significant differences in pre-test and post-test scores within both sections of Honors Chemistry

in regards to the Practical Prosthetics activity. There were not significant differences in pre-test and post-test scores for the Patterns of the Periodic Table activity. The results from this study are promising, however the sample size was small, and therefore the data is not generalizable. Additionally, many influences including initial differences between the treatment and control groups, teaching practices both groups were exposed to, and each group being aware of their status influenced the results.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Connelly, Rebeccardhauser17@gmail.comRDH45
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorForman,
Committee MemberAkiva,
Committee MemberReljac, Mary
Date: 24 September 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 20 July 2018
Approval Date: 24 September 2018
Submission Date: 21 August 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 142
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chemistry Relevance
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2018 17:08
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2018 17:08


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