Transforming science education through research-driven innovation
April 9, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 09, 2020 – BSCS Science Learning has published a suite of peer-reviewed research findings, online tools, and data sets for researchers to use when evaluating or planning studies of science education interventions. These freely available resources will help researchers interpret student and teacher outcomes in context and design effective studies in the future.
Throughout this 8-year line of work, BSCS reviewed hundreds of studies in science education and analyzed how various study characteristics impacted results.
“Our meta-analyses revealed the extent to which the nature of the study, the science discipline, attributes of teachers or students, and other key variables can affect a study’s outcome,” said Dr. Susan Kowalski, BSCS director of research and principal investigator of this National Science Foundation-funded work. “We used our findings to develop two online tools that will help researchers make predictions or inferences based on a study’s characteristics.”
The online tools, POWER Calculator for Student Outcomes and POWER Calculator for Teacher Outcomes, specifically allow researchers to estimate the likely effect size for a new study. Researchers can use the POWER calculators to determine how many participants will be required to obtain a statistically significant result if an intervention is truly effective. This gives researchers and funders increased confidence that they will obtain such a result without spending unnecessary time and money on extra participants. Once a study is completed, the tools enable users to interpret the size of their study’s effect in the context of similar studies.
In addition to the research findings and POWER calculators, BSCS has published the two data sets related to student and teacher outcomes. Researchers who want to do their own meta-analyses of the studies can explore the data from different angles, while efficiently using BSCS’s coding system.
For example, a researcher might be particularly interested in science professional development interventions for chemistry teachers. By sorting on science discipline, the researcher could identify all professional development experiments and quasi-experiments BSCS found between 2001 and 2017 that fit those criteria, and build off the organization’s existing codes related to study context, intervention characteristics, and effect size outcomes.
“BSCS is deeply committed to supporting science education research more broadly,” said Dr. Daniel Edelson, BSCS executive director. “By making the POWER Calculator tools and our research data sets available to the community, we are advancing that agenda.”
This entire suite of resources can be found at bscs.org/POWER