Science Epistemic Beliefs

How Australian middle-school students make meaning in science education by drawing on their science epistemic beliefs (SEB) is the subject of a new article in the International Journal of Education Research, with an ILSTE co-author and researcher, Associate Professor Laura Scholes. This research sought to understand student’s science epistemic beliefs and how to measure variances in epistemic stance.

The findings indicate that evaluativist SEBs were evident when students responded to forced-choice questions. However, when the questions were framed in an open-ended way most students displayed multiple SEBs (followed by absolutist SEBs). Forced-choice responses may provide a scaffold to enable students to report more sophisticated SEBs. The findings show the importance of including multiple response types in surveys and interviews to ensure that the full range of students’ SEBs are captured. Teachers can support the advancement of SEBs by paying greater attention to pedagogical approaches that support evaluativist beliefs, including those that support thinking and reasoning scientifically.


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