Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

James Hicks, Robert Otto, Victor Christenson

Degree Program

School of Teacher Education

Degree Type

Education Specialist


Because of the need for people to be scientifically literate in today's technological world, this researcher questioned whether the seventh grade students at the Sky Haven Elementary School, DeKalb County, Georgia, were learning basic science concepts in the most effective manner.

The purpose of this study was to compare the lecture-demonstration-recitation method (experimental treatment) and the discovery method (control treatment) of teaching science in the seventh grade to determine which method of instruction would result in greater student achievement and improved attitude towards science.

The sample consisted of 42 students of comparable ability (21 in each group) most of whom were black and/ or disadvantaged. The period of instruction was eighteen weeks during the 1976-77 school year. Two achievement tests (one standardized and one researcher-prepared and criterion-referenced) and one standardized attitudes survey were used. The t test was chosen to test the differences between the means of the two groups for three hypotheses and six sub-hypotheses at the .05 level of significance.

The findings indicated that the discovery method was significantly more effective in enhancing student achievement when measured by researcher-prepared criterion-referenced test. However, there were no statistically significant differences between student achievement and student attitudes toward science as measured by standardized instruments.

Although teaching method makes little or no difference on student achievement or attitudes as measured by standardized instruments, both methods did result in higher achievement and attitude scores with the lecture-demonstration- recitation group showing more improvement.

The most statistically significant finding was the sizable gains in achievement for both methods of instruction using the researcher-prepared criterion-referenced test. Both results were significant at greater than the .001 level.

Because of these significant findings, the writer recommends that more study be done in the area of criterion-referenced testing especially with minority and/or disadvantaged children.


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Elementary Education