Initiating change in students' achievement and alternative frameworks through a problem solving based instructional model.

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Chang, C. Y.
Barufaldi, J. P.

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a problem solving based instructional model on earth science students' achievement and alternative frameworks. Students' opinions toward the instructional method were also investigated. The investigations employed a pretest/posttest control group design to detect any significant change. The 172 participants enrolled in four earth science classes received six weeks of the problem-solving based instruction. Selected items from the Taiwan Entrance Examinations for Senior High School were used to measure achievement in Earth Science content. An instrument with open-ended questions was used to examine conceptual change while a 10-item Likert-type questionnaire was used to explore student opinions toward the instruction. Results of an analysis of covariance on achievement posttest scores revealed that the problem solving based instructional model did significantly improve the achievement of students, especially at the application level. A chi-square analysis on students' alternative frameworks measure indicated that students taught using the problem solving based instructional model experienced significant conceptual changes. Contains 33 references. (Author/JRH)