Can Adults Pass a Middle School Science Test? *
How well do adults understand basic science concepts? This project is a good opportunity for you to test your own scientific understanding as you create a short test to assess knowledge of basic science concepts. Your test will have to brief (probably 10-15 questions, maximum) or you'll have a hard time getting a sufficient number of complete responses. With so few questions, you'll have to think carefully about exactly what comprises "basic science knowledge," and exactly how to word your questions. It may take a few rounds of pilot tests and editing to get it right. For example, consider the following factors:
- There are many "textbook" science topics that may have changed dramatically since some adults were in school. For example, our understanding of topics like particle physics, human genetics, and even geology (the theory of plate tectonics) have all changed dramatically in the last few decades. Is it fair to expect adults to know about these topics?
- Conversely, there are many "classical" topics that have not changed, some even for hundreds of years, like Newton's laws of motion. Would your expectations for adults be different for questions on these topics?
- There are also "current event" topics that adults might be familiar with from present-day news, independent of what they learned in science class as children. Global warming is a perfect example. How would you expect knowledge of "current event" science knowledge to differ from "textbook" science knowledge?
You should also gather some demographic information from your respondents, like age, educational background, profession, and primary language. Ask yourself how representative your sample population is compared to the general population. For example, could your results be biased if most of the adults who take your test work in science or engineering fields? How do middle school students fare on your test? (Idea from Del Gavio-Kusich, 2003)
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Last edit date: 2017-07-28
BibliographyDel Gavio-Kusich, O., 2003. "Can Adults Pass a Standard 7th Grade Science Test?" California State Science Fair Project Abstract [accessed February 1, 2006] http://cssf.usc.edu/History/2003/Projects/J1705.pdf.
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