First Advisor

Michael Flower

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.) in General Science


Science Teaching




Deductive reasoning, Hypothesis testing, Inquiry, Biology -- Study and teaching (Secondary), Science -- Methodology, Education -- Research



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 45 p.) : ill. (some col.)


There is an increased emphasis on inquiry in national and Oregon state high school science standards. As hypothesis testing is a key component of these new standards, instructors need effective strategies to improve students' hypothesis testing skills. Recent research suggests that classroom exercises may prove useful. A general purpose classroom activity called the thought experiment is proposed. The effectiveness of 7 hours of instruction using this exercise was measured in an introductory biology course, using a quasi-experimental contrast group design. An instrument for measuring hypothesis testing skill is also proposed. Treatment (n=18) and control (n=10) sections drawn from preexisting high school classes were pre- and post-assessed using the proposed Multiple Choice Assessment of Deductive Reasoning. Both groups were also post-assessed by individually completing a written, short-answer format hypothesis testing exercise. Treatment section mean posttest scores on contextualized, multiple choice problem sets were significantly higher than those of the control section. Mean posttest scores did not significantly differ between sections on abstract deductive logic problems or the short answer format hypothesis testing exercise.


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Portland State University. Center for Science Education

Persistent Identifier