January 27, 2011—Robert Tai of the University of Virginia conducts studies into what hooks students on science and what later leads them to become scientists.
He is available to discuss the results, released this week, of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress in science at grades 4, 8 and 12, which found that 34 percent of fourth-graders, 30 percent of eighth-graders, and 21 percent of 12th-graders performed at or above ‘proficient’ (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2011451).
“Low test scores in science and mathematics are indicative of a much larger issue: Do our children enjoy learning science and math?” he said. “The new findings from the NAEP highlight a growing problem in science education in America – the waning interest of young people in science as they progress through our educational system. Test scores get better when children study hard, and children study hard when they enjoy what they are studying.”
A high school physics teacher-turned-university professor, Tai’s work has earned him numerous awards and research grants. Currently an associate professor at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, Tai has done research that is often published in scientific journals, and he is frequently cited as a source in the media, both locally and nationally.
Here are links to a few stories about his work:
—‘Eyeballs in the Fridge’ Needed to Entice Early Interest in Science, Study Finds
Tai interviewed by local TV station about his “Eyeballs in the Fridge” study
—Study Finds That Students Benefit From Depth, Rather Than Breadth, in High School Science Courses
—Curry Researcher Part of Team Mapping Out-of-School-Time Science Programs Thanks to NSF Grant
—U.Va. Professor Robert Tai Wins Education Research Award for Work in Tracing the Complex Pathway from Student to Scientist
—Block Scheduling Not Helping High School Students Perform Better in College Science, Says University of Virginia Science Education Professor
Robert Tai can be reached at:
His CV and research interests are online at: