New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Multiplex Relationships and the Impact on Rural Science Education and Science Teacher Perceptions

Peter N. Knutson, Dubuque Community Schools (United States)


The study focused on multiplex relationships (relationships that can overlap due to multiple contexts of interaction in a rural school) and their impact on science classroom performance, as measured by science standardized test scores, through the lens of Social Capital Theory. Rural science teachers across the state of Iowa, United States (n=138) participated in the study. Teachers were given a relationship average value based on the ratio of multiplex relationships to total number of students. Science strand scores from the Iowa Testing Program were correlated against the respective teacher’s relationship average.  The study did not show there was any marked increase in science standardized test scores based on a teacher’s higher relationship average.  In addition to this quantitative portion of the study, a follow up qualitative survey explored the rural science teacher’s perception of the impact in their ability to yield success in their science students.  Teacher accounts of classroom experiences with students in various levels of interactions yielded categories that were used to determine overall trends. There was an overall perception that the multiplex relationship did increase their ability to help students succeed in their science classroom, but this is contradictory to the lack of correlation on the impact on test scores.  

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