This research was both preliminary and exploratory, with intent to explore the effects of standardized tests in the area of teaching and learning science. The purpose of the research was clearly stated under a sub-heading. The goal was to collect data to indicate teachers’ perceptions and concerns about the high-stakes standardized science testing being implemented in the elementary school. Data of a qualitative nature was collected through surveys.
Data about previous standardized testing instruments used in the district and a rationale and brief history of the teaching of science in the district was presented first. A significant amount of primary research regarding standardized testing, test preparation activities, science teaching methods, and student achievement were addressed in the literature review. The review was comprehensive, germane to the topic, and essential to fully appreciate the research. Information was analyzed, evaluated and used to support the collected data in the conclusion portion of the paper.
The variables addressed included the impact of the independent variable, impending high-stakes science testing, and its effect on the teaching of science, which was the dependent variable. This data was focused on teacher concerns and perspectives of the issues. They were not operationally defined in the initial stages of the study, but were defined through the collection of data. The study contained no hypotheses.
The researchers appeared to have the knowledge and skill to conduct the research. Two research professors from the University of Florida who specialize in educational science research conducted the study, published in the journal Research in Science Education. Contact information was also provided for the research team.
Since this was an initial study the researchers chose to use a convenience sample, which is a non-probability sampling method. They used a sample of 10 suburban Florida schools within one district. These schools were selected due to accessibility and ability to obtain permission from principals and school boards. The researchers also believed that using schools from one district would decrease variability that might exist due to local policies. There were 100 teachers given samples with 38% returning valid responses. It was noted that the limited sample was problematic. The sample represented teachers teaching 1st to 5th grade, with 1 to 10 years of experience (with an average of 7.6 years), and educational backgrounds including all with undergraduate degrees in education, twelve with masters degrees, 2 with additional specialists degrees, and one participant with a doctoral degree.
Data was collected using a questionnaire that was designed by the researchers. The procedures used to create this instrument were not included in the study. However, it was noted that time was a factor that prevented piloting and validation of the questionnaire. Details of the instrument included that it was a...