Title page for ETD etd-07032012-105955

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Johnson, Mary Catherine
URN etd-07032012-105955
Title Pretesting in Science: Effect on Unit Test Scores
Degree Master of Natural Sciences (M.N.S.)
Department Natural Sciences (Interdepartmental Program)
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Hopkins, John B Committee Chair
Browne, Dana Committee Member
Moreno, Juana Committee Member
  • pretesting
  • transfer
Date of Defense 2012-07-02
Availability unrestricted

This study examines the effect that pretesting has on unit test scores in a high school Biology I classroom. The experimental classes were given a pretest before four units of curriculum and then taught the concepts of these units with a traditional lecture based methodology. Their unit test scores were compared to a control class that did not take pretests before the units. In addition, the End of Course (EOC) test scores of the control and experimental classes were compared to determine if pretesting improved transfer of knowledge to a different type of test.

Pretesting did not cause a statistical difference between the unit test scores of the control and regular experimental classes. However, the honors experimental class did have higher unit test scores than the control class as well as the regular experimental classes. It was also found that there was no significant difference between the control classes’ EOC scores and the regular classes’. Again the honors experimental class did have higher EOC scores than the control class and the regular experimental classes.

Pretesting is not an effective tool to increase unit test scores for regular education students. It does not seem to affect learning gains or transfer of knowledge for these either for these students. Honors students performed better overall in this study maybe as a result of pretesting.

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