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The effect of gender and reasoning ability on the students’ understanding of ecological concepts and attitude towards science

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2006
Soylu, Hacer
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of gender and reasoning ability on the 8th grade students’ understanding of ecological concepts and attitude toward science. All 8th grade students from public elementary school in Tosya participated in the study. Students’ understanding, attitude toward science and reasoning ability were also measured by means of the Test of Ecology Concept (TEC), the Attitude Scale toward Science (ASTS) and the Test of Logical Thinking (TOLT) respectively. In order to investigate students’ understanding deeply, interview was conducted. Results of the TEC and interview show that students have many misconceptions concerning ecosystem, population, community, decomposers, food chain, food web, energy pyramid and energy flow. Students’ understanding for the first tier (M= 55.8), combination of first two tiers (M= 27) and combination of all three tiers (M= 21.2) were calculated according to TEC results. Multivariate Analysis of Covariance (MANCOVA) conducted to determine the effect of gender on students’ understanding of ecological concepts and attitude towards science when reasoning ability was controlled. The results indicated that there was significant gender difference in favor of girls with respect to students’ understanding of ecological concepts and attitude towards science when reasoning ability was controlled (Wilks’ Lambda=0.97; p=.00).