Impact of the TOPS Program on High School Student Science Comprehension
Jones, Anna Jane
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This study was designed to examine the extent to which the Teachers + Occidental = Partnership in Science (TOPS) program increased student comprehension of scientific concepts. The TOPS program distributes technology-based laboratory kits to 35 schools in the Los Angeles area. These laboratory kits are designed to reflect California state science standards in chemistry, physics, and biology. Along with each lab, students complete a pre and post lab survey consisting of demographic identifiers and objective multiple-choice questions linked to California Standardized Test questions. Our dataset came from pre and post Physics surveys completed over the course of the 2009-2010 school year. Scores on the objective questions served as a measure of student comprehension. Analysis of the pre and post scores for each lab revealed that seven out of eleven labs resulted in a significant and sizeable increase in scores from pre to post lab surveys. The degree of change from pre to post survey was consistent across genders, ethnicities, and attitudes towards science, though the scores themselves varied among demographic subgroups. These results indicate that the TOPS science outreach program results in an equitable, positive impact on student comprehension of physics concepts.