Type of Document Dissertation Author Kaya, Sibel Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-11052008-164807 Title The Effects of Student-Level and Classroom-Level Factors on Elementary Students' Science Achievement in Five Countries Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Teacher Education, School of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Diana C. Rice Committee Chair Carol Connor Committee Member Ithel Jones Committee Member Robert Schwartz Outside Committee Member Keywords
- Home Resources
- Teacher Support
- Science Inquiry
- Classroom Composition
- Science Achievement
- School Learning Models
Date of Defense 2008-10-21 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe interest in raising levels of achievement in math and science has led to a focus on investigating the factors that shape achievement in these subjects (Lamb & Fullarton, 2002) as well as understanding how these factors operate across countries (Baker, Fabrega, Galindo, & Mishook, 2004). The current study examined the individual student factors and classroom factors on fourth grade science achievement within and across five countries. Guided by the previous school learning models, the elements of studentsí science learning were categorized as student-level and classroom-level factors. The student-level factors included gender, self-confidence in science, and home resources. The classroom-level factors included teacher characteristics, instructional variables and classroom composition. Results for the United States and four other countries, Singapore, Japan, Australia, and Scotland were reported. Multilevel effects of student and classroom variables were examined through Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) using the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2003 fourth grade dataset. The outcome variable was the TIMSS 2003 science score.
Overall, the results of this study showed that selected student background characteristics were consistently related to elementary science achievement in countries investigated. At the student-level, higher levels of home resources and self-confidence and at the classroom-level, higher levels of class mean home resources yielded higher science scores on the TIMSS 2003. In general, teacher and instructional variables were minimally related to science achievement. There was evidence of positive effects of teacher support in the U.S. and Singapore. The emphasis on science inquiry was positively related to science achievement in Singapore and negatively related in the U.S. and Australia. Experimental studies that investigate the impacts of teacher and instructional factors on elementary science achievement are needed. For all the countries investigated, with the exception of Singapore, the between-class variance was much smaller than the within-class variance. Japan had the smallest variation in science achievement among classrooms which indicates the homogeneity across classrooms in Japan.
Increasing awareness and knowledge of gender neutral instructional techniques, providing a non-threatening, rich and supportive environment for both genders in classrooms by elementary teachers are to be encouraged. To improve studentsí self beliefs about science, it is recommended that teachers model science activities and accommodate studentsí needs and abilities (Bandura, 1997; Britner & Pajares, 2006). Schools and teachers are recommended to develop a successful home-school partnership for improved student learning and positive attitudes toward science (Eccles & Harold, 1996; Epstein & Salinas, 2004). Furthermore, developing a knowledge base for teachers regarding the influences of classroom and school composition is highlighted (Honig, Kahne, & McLaughlin, 2001; Murrel, 2001). At the classroom- and school-level, policy efforts could focus on the distribution of educational resources (Condron & Roscigno, 2003; Goesling, 2003) to compensate for poor family background.
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