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Editor: Kathy Canfield-Davis, University of Idaho


2009 NRMERA Distinguished Paper Award

Believing You’re Correct vs. Knowing You’re Correct: A Significant Difference?

Authors: Randy M. Isaacson & Christopher A. Was
Institutions: Indiana University South Bend, Kent State University

Abstract: Metacognition is often described as thinking about one’s thinking. A more precise definition is knowledge and control over one’s cognitive processes. Poor metacognition often causes students to overestimate their understanding which leads to ineffective learning. This overestimation is specifically caused by poor metacognitive knowledge monitoring. The current study examines college students’ ability to monitor and accurately assess their prior knowledge. We found that undergraduates who are more accurate at assessing their existing knowledge perform better on course exams than students who are less accurate at assessing their knowledge. There is hope however, that metacognitive knowledge monitoring is a skill that can be taught and learned. The findings have important implications for the college and k-12 instruction.

Reference: Isaacson, R. M., & Was, C. A. (2010). Believing you’re correct vs. knowing you’re correct: A significant difference? The Researcher, 23(1), 1-12.


Shifting Acceptance of Evolution: Promising Evidence of the Influence of the Understanding Evolution Website

Authors: Louis S. Nadelson, Gale M. Sinatra
Institutions: Boise State University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Abstract: This study examined preservice teachers’ understanding and acceptance of biological evolution, the nature of science, and situations of chance. Our goal was to examine whether increases in understanding of situations of chance (randomness), the nature of science, and acceptance of evolution, would result in greater understanding of biological evolution in prospective teachers. The participating preservice teachers were tested before and after interacting with the Understanding Evolution website and a similarly designed tutorial to assess their acceptance and understanding of these three domains. Web based tutorials designed to address common misconceptions of the three domains were administered to the experimental group. The control group received evolution and nature of science misconception instruction, and to equate time on task, a filler tutorial which replaced the situations of chance instruction. Pretest analysis revealed evolution understanding was significantly correlated with knowledge of the nature of science and situations of uncertainly. Post test analysis indicated that the tutorials induced a modest but detectable shift in acceptance of evolution, but had no effect on understanding of situations of chance or knowledge of evolution. This suggests that it may be able to achieve modest changes in acceptance of evolution with a relatively modest instructional intervention.

Reference: Nadelson, L. S. & Sinatra, G. M. (2010). Shifting Acceptance of the Understanding Evolution Website. The Researcher, 23(1), 13 – 29


Exploring Experiential Learning

Author: Gail Ingwalson, University of North Dakota

Abstract: To utilize a process through which a learner constructs knowledge, skills, and value from direct experience brings relevance to our curriculum. Experiential learning operates under the premise that making discoveries and experimenting with knowledge puts students at the heart of learning through the hands of experience. Two first year teachers extended their classrooms by creating curriculum that challenged their students to apply prior knowledge, develop new skills, reflect upon these experiences, and contemplate how life is influenced by their thoughts and actions. As each teacher’s action research unfolded, it became obvious that using experiential learning provided opportunities for the students to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for learning.

Reference: Ingwalson, G. (2010). Exploring Experiential Learning. The Researcher, 23(1), 30-40.


Where Are The Children?: Educational Neglect Across the Fifty States

Author: Phillip Kelly,  Boise State University

Abstract: This paper explores the extent to which states are meeting their obligation to provide adequate educations for their minor citizens. It reveals the current mismatch between children identified in the federal census and those enrolled in any form of schooling. Currently, approximately 1.7 million children (3.5% nationwide) within compulsory education age ranges are not enrolled with any type of educational institution. Hawaii, at 17.5%, has the largest percentage of “missing children.” These “missing” children lie at the intersection of two policy implementing bodies, departments of education and departments of health and welfare. Unfortunately, most states cannot reconcile the number of children that should be educated. At a minimum, this is necessary to meet the democratic intent of compulsory education statutes.

Reference: Kelly, P. (2010). Where are the children?: Educational neglect across the fifty states. The Researcher, 23(1), 41-58.


Students as Carers Across Three Disciplines: Quantifying Student Caring in Higher Education

Authors: Sandra Nadelson, Louis Nadelson, Richard Osguthorpe
Institution: Boise State University

Abstract: This research project evaluated nursing, education, and engineering students’ perceptions of themselves and their academic peers as carers using survey methods. Findings indicated the three academic majors have above average levels of caring and that there was a relationship between students’ perceptions of themselves as carers and their academic peers as carers, but that these perceptions vary by academic major (p< 0.01). The research results also revealed that age and amount of post-secondary education were unrelated to students’ perceptions of themselves as carers, but that the amount of post-secondary education influenced students’ attitudes about their academic peers as carers. Students who had more years of higher education viewed their academic peers as more caring individuals than students with less time in the academic world.

Reference: Nadelson, S., Nadelson, L., & Osguthorpe, R. (2010). Students as carers across three disciplines: Quantifying student caring in higher education. The Researcher, 23(1), 59-73.


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