Chèche Konnen Researchers’ JRST Article Chosen as One of ‘Top Five JRST Articles Recommended for Science Teachers’ in 2012

April 8, 2013



CAMBRIDGE, MA“'I never thought of it as freezing'”: How students answer questions on large-scale science tests and what they know about science” by Chèche Konnen researchers Tracy Noble, Catherine Suarez, Ann Rosebery, Beth Warren, Josiane Hudicourt-Barnes, and Mary Catherine O’Connor (Boston University) was selected for the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) Publications Advisory Committee’s 2012 NSTA Reading List. The article was one of NARST’s top five JRST articles recommended for science teachers in 2012. Complimentary copies of the article will be available at the NARST booth at the upcoming National Science Teachers Association Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas on April 11-14, 2013.

The Journal of Research in Science Teaching (JRST) is the official publication ofNARST, and disseminates reports for science education researchers and practitioners on issues of science teaching and learning and education policy. “I never thought of it as freezing” appeared on pages of 778-803 of the August 2012 issue of JRST and detailed research findings for a study examining how students from historically non-dominant communities interact with test items on large-scale assessments.

In the article, the authors described Children and Science Tests—a project examining how elementary school children from diverse ethnic, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds interpret science test items from the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), a high-stakes test. Researchers interviewed 36 Grade 5 students (including 12 native speakers of English from low-income households; 12 native speakers of English from middle-class households; and 12 English Language Learners (ELLs), the majority of whom were from low-income households) about their responses to six multiple-choice test items from the MCAS. The authors found that ELLs and native speakers of English from low-income households were more likely than native speakers of English from middle-class households to answer items incorrectly despite demonstrating knowledge of the targeted science content. Furthermore, for five of the six selected test items, the authors found that many students’ descriptions of the science content knowledge they used to answer the test items did not match the content knowledge targeted by the test items—thus challenging the expectation that students’ answers to individual test items reflected their knowledge of the targeted science content.

The article can be downloaded by members or individually purchased by clicking here.