Date of Award

8-2018

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Geosciences

First Advisor

Dr. Heather Petcovic

Second Advisor

Dr. Nicole LaDue

Third Advisor

Dr. Mohamed Sultan

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

This study designed a nationally-relevant, valid, and reliable survey that measures STEM and Non-STEM undergraduate student familiarity with sub-meter metric scale and common sub-meter sized science objects. The instrument assesses scalar relationship and scalar magnitude, as explained by Cheek, LaDue, and Shipley (2017). The instrument development was based on an existing Scale of Objects Questionnaire (SOQ) instrument created by Tretter, Jones, Andre, Negishi, & Minogue (2006a) which was modified to be nationally relevant and in an electronic format in two phases: online survey development and undergraduate pilot testing. Online survey development was framed in the tailored design method described by Dillman, Smyth, & Christian (2014). The final instrument was deployed using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to provide a national sample. 181 STEM and 88 Non-STEM participants completed the Spatial Conceptions of Relationship and Magnitude Task (SCRAMT) electronic survey. The familiarity tasks within this survey are reliable and factor in logical factor loading indicating construct reliability. There was no significant difference in familiarity and rank order of metric measurements between STEM and Non-STEM participants. The spatial scale tasks found within this survey are reliable when used together. More undergraduates could accurately complete the rank order task but were not able to complete the magnitude binning task. However, performance on all tasks showed no significant differences between STEM and Non-STEM undergraduates.

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