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Effects of Activity-Based Elementary Science on Student Outcomes: A Quantitative Synthesis

Ted Bredderman
Review of Educational Research
Vol. 53, No. 4 (Winter, 1983), pp. 499-518
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1170219
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Effects of Activity-Based Elementary Science on Student Outcomes: A Quantitative Synthesis
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Abstract

In this study, meta-analysis techniques were used to synthesize research on the effectiveness of three major activity-based elementary science programs (ESS, SAPA, and SCIS), which were developed with federal support. In 57 controlled studies, outcomes were measured in over 900 classrooms; the overall mean effect size for all outcome areas was .35. The mean effect size was .52 for science process tests, .16 for science content, and .28 for affective outcomes. On the average, gains also were realized in creativity, intelligence, language, and mathematics. Only 3 of 14 coded study features were related to reported effects: Disadvantaged students derived greater benefits than other students; tests not biased in favor of the activity-based programs resulted in positive but lower effects than those favoring the activity-based approach; and published reports had higher effects than unpublished reports. The effects of particular programs reflect their relative curricular emphases. In three followup studies, student groups that had had activity-based programs in elementary school and had later experienced traditional science programs during middle school years could not be consistently distinguished from control groups.

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