Characteristics of special progress intermediate school students who achieve in science

Barry Schaper, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to determine the characteristics of special progress intermediate school students who achieve well in science. The subjects of this study were 21 special progress intermediate school students; these sixth through eighth graders attended an intermediate school in Staten Island, New York. These youngsters were placed in a special progress class, because they attained scores of 90th percentile on standardized reading tests and 85th percentile on standardized mathematics tests. All student participants maintained an academic average of 85, and their report card grades in science ranged from 80 to 99. In science courses, students were given nightly homework assignments and frequent teacher-made tests. The teaching methods consisted of class discussion, teacher science demonstrations, and laboratory work. All student participants and the five science teachers of these special progress pupils were interviewed. Classroom science lessons were observed and tape recorded. The researcher examined student written work, science homework, written tests, pupil science reports, and pupil permanent records. Students were asked to keep written logs of their daily science activities and to write a science autobiography; these were also carefully studied by the researcher. Some of the conclusions of this study were: (1) Special progress children in this study achieved in science because they were interested, they did their homework, and they studied for tests. (2) Special progress students in this study did not give up when they could not answer science homework questions. They used alternate methods to find the answers. (3) Special progress students in this study had positive self-esteem; they believed that they could learn and succeed. (4) Parents of special progress children in this study bought them science books and materials; family members helped these children to achieve by assisting with homework, checking homework, answering students' questions, and helping pupils study for tests. (5) Special progress children in this study liked hands-on experimentation in science class. These students disliked excessive copying of notes and teacher lecturing. (6) An excellent science teacher would be knowledgeable; he/she would explain concepts, and he/she would not lecture. Science lessons of such a teacher would be developmental, interesting, and permit discussion of ideas.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Science education|Special education

Recommended Citation

Schaper, Barry, "Characteristics of special progress intermediate school students who achieve in science" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9034637.