The effect of the elementary science study on selected science skills of educable mentally retarded students

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Mansfield, Janet Lou Joyce, 1937-
Ball, Daniel W.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
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The purpose of this study was to determine what effects, if any, the Elementary Science Study has on selected science skills of Educable Mentally Retarded students.The science skills chosen were observing, inferring, and communicating across four educational levels -- primary, intermediate, junior high, and senior high EM students -- of the Northwest Indiana Special Education Cooperative. This Cooperative consists of ten school corporations: Highland, Griffith, hake Ridge, Fast Gary, Hobart Township, Hobart, Ross Township, Hanover Community, Crown Points, and Tri-Creek. These corporations have joined together to provide comprehensive programming in special education.The data were collected from 307 EM students (chronological ages 6-19 years) taught by twenty-six teachers who participated in the study.Two experimental groups were used. One, labeled the Perceptual Group, consisted of nine teachers and their students using six FBS units comprised of Tangrams, Mirror Cards, Pattern Blocks, Attribute Games, Geo-Blocks, and Tracks. A second experimental group, labeled the Psychomotor Group, consisted of nine teachers and their students using six FSS units comprised of Sink or Float, Mystery Powders, Ice Cubes, Clay Boats, Primary Balancing, and Batteries and Bulbs. A third group, which served as the control, consisted of eight teachers and their students.The Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities Verbal Expression Sub-Test was modified by this researcher and used as the evaluation instrument. The science skill of communicating was determined by the regular ITPA score while the science skills of observing and inferring were determined by the modified ITPA. Eight school psychologists administered and scored the instrument.Multivariate and Univariate Analyses of Covariance were used for the statistical analyses. General and specific findings were noted for each educational level. There were statistically significant differences between the experimentals and controls in both multivariate and univariate analyses of the data. Both perceptual ESS units and psychomotor ES S units were found to improve at least one of the three science skills in some educational levels.There was an increase in the frequency of mean verbal expression scores and the frequency of mean observations made by students. There was a corresponding decrease in the mean frequency of inferences made by students from primary through senior high.In combining all educational levels (primary, intermediate, junior high, and senior high) the Experimental Group displayed a significantly higher frequency in mean verbal expression and mean observation scores. There was no significant difference between the Experimental and Control Groups in the mean frequency of inferences.In general, MM students exposed to ESS units demonstrated a higher level of verbal ability.