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Relevant CAT: Attitude Survey

Discipline: Biology, Chemistry, General Science, Mathematics, Physics

The Views About Science Survey (VASS) is designed to survey student views about knowing and learning science, and to assess the relation of these views to student understanding of science and course achievement (Grades 8-16). VASS probes student views in three scientific dimensions and three cognitive dimensions. Scientific dimensions pertain to the structure and validity of scientific knowledge, and to scientific methodology. Cognitive dimensions pertain to learnability of science, reflective thinking, and personal relevance of science. In each VASS item, respondents are asked to balance two contrasting alternatives on a five-point scale called "contrasting alternative design" (see example below). To assess variability in student views in different disciplines, parallel forms of VASS are developed for physics, chemistry, biology, general science, and mathematics.

Actual VASS Question
Learning physics requires:
(a). serious effort.
(b). a special talent.

What would each one of the five choices mean?

1. Mostly (a), rarely (b): Learning physics requires mostly a serious effort and rarely a special talent (or mainly the former and hardly ever the latter).

2. More (a) than (b): Learning physics requires more a serious effort than a special talent.

3. Equally (a) & (b): Learning physics requires as much a serious effort as a special talent.

4. More (b) than (a): Learning physics requires more a special talent than a serious effort.

5. Mostly (b), rarely (a): Learning physics requires mostly a special talent and rarely a serious effort (or mainly the former and hardly ever the latter).


The VASS is available to educators and can be accessed at Dr. Ibrahim Halloun's website:
   www.halloun.net on the assessment page.

Ibrahim Halloun (Department of Physics and Astronomy, Arizona State University and Department of Science and Mathematics Education, Lebanese University).

David Hestenes and the Modeling Research Team (Department of Physics and Astronomy, Arizona State University)

Selected References:
Halloun, Ibrahim. (2001). Student Views about Science: A Comparative Survey. Beirut: Phoenix Series / Educational Research Center, Lebanese University.

Halloun, Ibrahim and David Hestenes. (1998). Interpreting VASS dimensions and profiles. (1998). Science & Education, 7(6), 553-577.

Halloun, Ibrahim. (1997). Views about science and physics achievement: The VASS story. In E.F. Redish & J.S. Rigden (eds.). The changing role of physics departments in modern universities. Proceedings of ICUPE. pp. 605-613. College Park, Maryland: American Institute of Physics Press.

Halloun, Ibrahim. Home page. 12 December 2001. www.halloun.net

Halloun, Ibrahim. Views About Sciences Survey – VASS P20 Synopsis. 12 December 2001. www.halloun.net

Modeling Workshop Project. Modeling Instruction Program at Arizona State University. 12 December 2001. http://modeling.asu.edu/R&E/Research.html

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