Practices in Science and Engineering Education

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "STEM Education".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2024) | Viewed by 11430

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, 1 Nanyang Walk, Singapore 637616, Singapore
Interests: curriculum studies; sociocultural learning; epistemic knowing

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, 1 Nanyang Walk, Singapore 637616, Singapore
Interests: epistemic practices; argumentation; STEM education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The “practice turn” in science education (Forman, 2018) has been one significant consequence of promoting “science and engineering practices” found in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013). These practices can be understood as a diverse but by no means consensus view of knowledge building across three broad spheres of activity: investigating, developing explanations and solutions, and evaluating the fit between models/theory and evidence (National Research Council, 2012). In this Special Issue, it is therefore timely to take stock of what has worked, what does not work, and what else needs work with respect to these practices if we deem them to be so valuable in advancing science and engineering education.

Examples of research most appropriate for this Special Issue include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Research theorizing scientific and engineering practices and how they are articulated with views from other disciplinary lenses such as those of anthropology, sociology, psychology, and philosophy; 
  • In-depth studies of curricula/projects that develop practices in K–12, post-K–12, and informal settings;
  • Articulations of practices and topics such as identity formation, activism, social change, and social justice;
  • Examining how culture and/or context mediate instruction and the uptake of practices;
  • Assessment of scientific and engineering practices.

We will welcome quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods studies, as well as theoretical papers. Interested authors are welcome to discuss their ideas with the Guest Editors.

Dr. Yew-Jin Lee
Dr. Yann Shiou Ong
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • scientific practices
  • engineering practices
  • curriculum and implementation
  • assessment: formative and summative

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

26 pages, 3486 KiB  
Article
Epistemic Discourses and Conceptual Coherence in Students’ Explanatory Models: The Case of Ocean Acidification and Its Impacts on Oysters
by Asli Sezen-Barrie, Mary K. Stapleton, Gili Marbach-Ad and Anica Miller-Rushing
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(5), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13050496 - 14 May 2023
Viewed by 1235
Abstract
Engaging students in epistemic and conceptual aspects of modeling practices is crucial for phenomena-based learning in science classrooms. However, many students and teachers still struggle to actualize the reformed vision of the modeling practice in their classrooms. Through a discourse analysis of 150 [...] Read more.
Engaging students in epistemic and conceptual aspects of modeling practices is crucial for phenomena-based learning in science classrooms. However, many students and teachers still struggle to actualize the reformed vision of the modeling practice in their classrooms. Through a discourse analysis of 150 students’ explanatory models (as social semiotic spaces) from 14 classes, we propose a qualitative framework that investigates conceptual coherence and epistemic discourses to achieve a gapless explanation of scientific phenomena. Our framework draws attention to four critical components of students’ explanatory models: (a) key ideas based on evidence, (b) the discourse modalities of how evidence is presented, (c) scientific representations from the cultures of scientific disciplines, (d) systems thinking approaches directly and indirectly related to oceans and marine ecosystems. Our results indicate that students struggled to construct cohesive explanatory models that communicated all key ideas and the relationships among them, with the majority of student-developed models in our study categorized as ‘insufficiently’ cohesive (lacking key ideas and the relationships among them), and only a small percentage of the models considered ‘extensively’ cohesive (all key ideas attended to, as well as the relationships among them). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practices in Science and Engineering Education)
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25 pages, 6786 KiB  
Article
Comparing the Use of Two Different Approaches to Assess Teachers’ Knowledge of Models and Modeling in Science Teaching
by Grace Carroll and Soonhye Park
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(4), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13040405 - 17 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1507
Abstract
Science teacher knowledge for effective teaching consists of multiple knowledge bases, one of which includes science content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge. With the inclusion of science and engineering practices into the national science education standards in the US, teachers’ content knowledge goes beyond [...] Read more.
Science teacher knowledge for effective teaching consists of multiple knowledge bases, one of which includes science content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge. With the inclusion of science and engineering practices into the national science education standards in the US, teachers’ content knowledge goes beyond subject matter knowledge and into the realm of how scientists use practices for scientific inquiry. This study compares two approaches to constructing and validating two different versions of a survey that aims to measure the construct of teachers’ knowledge of models and modeling in science teaching. In the first version, a 24-item Likert scale survey containing content and pedagogical knowledge items was found to lack the ability to distinguish different knowledge levels for respondents, and validation through factor analysis indicated content and pedagogical knowledge items could not be separated. Findings from the validation results of the first survey influenced revisions to the second version of the survey, a 25-item multiple-choice instrument. The second survey employed a competence model framework for models and modeling for item specifications, and results from exploratory factor analysis revealed this approach to assessing the construct to be more appropriate. Recommendations for teacher assessment of science practices using competence models and points to consider in survey design, including norm-referenced or criterion-referenced tests, are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practices in Science and Engineering Education)
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17 pages, 278 KiB  
Article
Elementary Preservice Teachers’ Understandings and Task Values of the Science Practices Advocated in the NGSS in the US
by Elsun Seung, Soonhye Park, Vance Kite and Aeran Choi
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(4), 371; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13040371 - 04 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1323
Abstract
K-12 science education in America has long been criticized for not preparing scientifically literate students who are prepared to engage in science-as-practice. Bearing this in mind, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) recommend engaging students in eight science practices to build their knowledge [...] Read more.
K-12 science education in America has long been criticized for not preparing scientifically literate students who are prepared to engage in science-as-practice. Bearing this in mind, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) recommend engaging students in eight science practices to build their knowledge of and proficiency in science. Engaging students in science-as-practice instruction depends on building preservice teachers’ understanding of, proficiency with, and value for the science practices. Through this mixed methods study, we investigated the effects of an elementary science teaching methods course on 109 preservice teachers’ epistemic understanding of the practices, their perceived importance of each practice, and the value that they ascribe to each practice. The results of our analysis indicate that: (1) the course initiated changes in preservice teachers’ epistemic understanding of the practices; (2) these preservice teachers viewed Asking questions as the most important science practice; and (3) they most frequently attached Attainment value to the science practices. Based on these findings, we recommend that courses for preservice teachers purposefully include significant opportunities for them to engage in the doing of science; place emphasis on crosscutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas in science; and provide preservice teachers with viable strategies for engaging students in each of the science practices in actual classrooms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practices in Science and Engineering Education)
18 pages, 316 KiB  
Article
The Effects of a Modeling and Computational Thinking Professional Development Program on STEM Educators’ Perceptions toward Teaching Science and Engineering Practices
by Blake C. Colclasure, Tessa Durham Brooks, Tomáš Helikar, Scott J. King and Audrey Webb
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(8), 570; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12080570 - 21 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2284
Abstract
Teachers’ integration of the Next Generation Science Standards and corresponding Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) illustrate current science education reform in the United States. Effective teacher professional development (PD) on SEPs is essential for reform success. In this study, we evaluated the Nebraska [...] Read more.
Teachers’ integration of the Next Generation Science Standards and corresponding Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) illustrate current science education reform in the United States. Effective teacher professional development (PD) on SEPs is essential for reform success. In this study, we evaluated the Nebraska STEM Education Conference, a PD program for middle school, high school, and first- and second-year post-secondary STEM teachers. This SEP-oriented PD program focused predominantly on the SEPs ‘developing and using models’ and ‘using mathematics and computational thinking.’ An electronic survey was used to measure participants’ (n = 45) prior integration of SEPs, influential factors and barriers to using SEPs, and changes to interest and confidence in using SEPs as a result of attending the PD program. Our results showed that teachers had limited prior use of SEPs in their teaching. Student interest and learning outcomes were the factors found to be most influential to teachers’ use of SEPs, while limited knowledge, confidence, and resources were the most commonly identified barriers. As a result of attending the PD program, participants significantly improved their confidence and interest to incorporate SEPs. We recommend continued SEP-oriented PD to foster successful NGSS integration and to advance reforms in science education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practices in Science and Engineering Education)
21 pages, 2838 KiB  
Article
Variations among Next Generation Science Standards and Other NRC Framework-Based Science Standards: Differences in Layout, Typography, and What Teachers Notice
by Eugene Judson
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(5), 330; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12050330 - 09 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2522
Abstract
Science standards across 44 states in the United States are often assumed to be equivalent because they are all based on the National Research Council’s (NRC) Framework for K-12 Science Education. Twenty of those states adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), [...] Read more.
Science standards across 44 states in the United States are often assumed to be equivalent because they are all based on the National Research Council’s (NRC) Framework for K-12 Science Education. Twenty of those states adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which is based on the NRC Framework, and the 24 other states developed their own NRC Framework-based science standards. In this article, two related studies are described that focused on assessing this homogeneity assumption. In the first study, a comparative document analysis categorized the variety of ways performance expectations are presented. Analysis also focused on relative placement of information related to performance expectations and components of three-dimensional learning. To assess how variations affect teacher noticing, in the second study nearly 300 elementary school teachers viewed, in random order, seemingly similar fourth-grade standards from three states. Comparisons focused on teachers’ noticing of student objectives, elements that stood out, and teachers’ rationales regarding their noticing. Though both studies underscored that all NRC Framework-based science standards do integrate NRC Framework tenets, findings counter the assumption that NRC Framework-based science standards are necessarily equivalent to each other or to NGSS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practices in Science and Engineering Education)
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