Students with relatively weak mathematics skills who were given self-led, less-structured science instruction in high school were at a disadvantage in college biology and chemistry classes, compared with similarly skilled peers who had come from more-structured classes, a study has found.
Students from the more free-form high school classes received lower grades in their college courses than students who had been given more direct guidance in their high school courses. Yet among students with stronger math skills, there was hardly any difference in college performance between those who had been taught in structured environments and those who had been in unstructured ones, a study author, Robert H. Tai, said in an e-mail.
Mr. Tai, an associate professor of science education at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, wrote the study with Philip M. Sadler, the director of the science education department at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in Cambridge, Mass. It was published in the March issue of the International Journal of Science Education.
A version of this article appeared in the April 01, 2009 edition of Education Week