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A. Vázquez Alonso1, M.A. Manassero Mas1, A. Bennàssar-Roig1, A. García-Carmona2

1University of the Balearic Islands (SPAIN)
2University of Seville (SPAIN)
The nature of science and technology (NoS&T) issues are today an undisputable target of science education to achieve an authentic scientific and technological literacy for all. This communication diagnoses the epistemological thinking of a wide sample of in-service teachers by means of the Questionnaire of Opinions on Science, Technology and Society (Spanish acronym COCTS), applying a new powerful quantitative methodology that allows inferential statistics (ANOVAs and significance tests). The analysis compares science and art teachers thinking, a rare framework in science education literature as it is usually focused in science teachers.
A wide sample of in-service teachers (969) from primary, secondary, and tertiary education answered one of two questionnaires, each presenting 15 COCTS items. The 30 items in the two questionnaires present the following epistemological dimensions: definitions of science and technology (S&T), epistemology, influences of society in S&T, influence of S&T in society, education in S&T and internal sociology of S&T. Each item stem presents a specific NoS&T issue within a non-technical simple perspective. A variable number of sentences, each labelled with a letter A, B, C…, follow the stem; each sentence states a reason that explains a particular position (belief or attitude) on the stem issue.
The participants were asked to score each sentence according to their degree of agreement on a 9-point scale (1, total disagreement; 9, total agreement). The agreement direct scores are translated into homogeneous invariant attitudinal indexes (-1, +1) through a scaling method described elsewhere (Manassero, Vázquez & Acevedo, 2006), which allows transformation and inference statistics.
The results presented here identify the teachers’ attitudes and beliefs on the NoS&T issues in each item, from their quantitative indexes: the most positive beliefs, the most negative, and the neutral. These beliefs report the strengths and weaknesses of the epistemological thinking on the NoS&T issues, a very useful information to improve teacher training about these issues.
When comparing science and art teachers, the most remarkable finding shows that both groups are not different, as one would expect taking into account their quite long and different background specialization in S&T. Furthermore, not only science teachers are not better than their art counterparts, who lack scientific training, but also they are even slightly worst in some specific issues. The results also unveil those issues where the art teachers exhibit significantly more appropriate attitudes than science teachers.
All in all, the results suggest that the undergraduate scientific education is not effective to learn appropriate ideas on NoS&T issues for graduates in S&T. This statement points out to a prospective aim: the undergraduate education and the specific initial science teacher training must be innovated in order to include NoS&T for the teachers acquisition of informed views on NsS&T.
These findings and the empirical data, tables, and graphics that support them will be widely produced in the conference.

Vázquez, A., Manassero, M. A. y Acevedo, J. A. (2006). An Analysis of Complex Multiple-Choice Science-Technology-Society Items: Methodological Development and Preliminary Results. Science Education, 90 (4), 681-706.

Research Project SEJ2007-67090/EDUC funded by the Education Ministry (Spain).