Date of Award

Summer 1991

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Benita M. Jorkasky

Second Advisor

Robert B. Ribble

Third Advisor

Not legible


Various methods exist for scientific instruction of elementary school students. This paper compares the expository method, in which the teacher and textbook take a central role in instruction, and the discovery method, in which students learn through hands-on activities, to determine which method was more successful at fulfilling the New York State syllabus recommendations represented by the New York State Elementary Science Program Evaluation Test (NYS ESPET). The results of the study would hopefully lead to some practical generalizations which can assist individuals and systems when deciding on an appropriate and effective method of curriculum design and implementation. A sample fourth grade group from a rural elementary school who had received expository instruction was compared to a combined sample group from two rural elementary schools which had used the discovery method. Two coginitive ability tests were used as the pretests to establish equivalency between the two treatment groups while the EPSET was used as the post-test to establish any significant difference between the two groups in student academic achievement. Criterion measures were also used to determine the strengths of the relationships between treatment group and performance. Analysis showed that there was absolutely no statistically significant difference for any of the criterion measures at the 95% confidence level. The author suggests this lack of information may be because the EPSET isn’t a sufficient indicator of difference or relationship.