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UT multimedia program increases middle school interest in science
Date:7/2/2009

Middle school students who were part of a unique science learning program developed by The University of Texas School of Public Health showed significant increases in interest and achievement scores compared to other students, a recent study found.

Results from the study are published in the June issue of the Association of American Medical Colleges' Academic Medicine.

The program, HEADS UP (Health Education and Discovering Science while Unlocking Potential), presents key science information through lessons and vignettes of science experts from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. It was developed by Nancy Murray, Dr.P.H., assistant professor of behavioral sciences at the UT School of Public Health.

"HEADS UP is designed to enhance middle school students' interest in science and ultimately lead to more minority students pursuing health careers," said Murray. "Colleges in the United States are no longer graduating enough students with science majors to meet the demand for scientists who can assume leadership roles in the science professions. We believe middle school may be the last chance to pique student interest in science and prepare them to pursue a science-related career."

Researchers followed students from fifth to eighth grade and found a 7.2 percent increase in Stanford 10 Achievement scores for students who participated in the HEADS UP program compared to students of similar background who did not. Stanford Achievement Tests are one of the leading standardized tests used in school districts throughout the United States to measure academic knowledge of children from kindergarten through high school.

Students from the HEADS UP group also had a nine-point gain in test score rankings. Student interest, confidence and self-efficacy in science also increased when using HEADS UP materials, the study found.

Murray hopes the program fosters more interest in science among minor
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Contact: Jade Waddy
jade.waddy@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3307
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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