WWC review of this study

Learning Science in Grades 3-8 Using Probeware and Computers: Findings from the TEEMSS II Project

Zucker, Andrew A.; Tinker, Robert; Staudt, Carolyn; Mansfield, Amie; Metcalf, Shari (2008). Journal of Science Education and Technology, v17 n1 p42-48. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ804927

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
    , grades

Reviewed: May 2012

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Science Achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Sound unit test

Technology Enhanced Elementary and Middle School Science (TEEMSS) vs. Business as usual


Grades 3-4;
181 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Study sample characteristics were not reported.


The study took place in more than 100 elementary and middle school classrooms in over a dozen school districts in three states during the 2004–05 and 2005–06 school years.

Study sample

In this quasi-experimental study, the treatment group included students of teachers who used the TEEMSS curriculum during the 2005–06 school year. The comparison group included students from the prior school year (2004–05) of the same teachers, who taught the same topics but used their regular teaching methods. For this review, the analysis sample consisted of 181 students in grades 3–4 (97 treatment and 84 comparison) who received instruction on the topic of sound.

Intervention Group

The curriculum received by the treatment group was Technology Enhanced Elementary and Middle School Science (TEEMSS) for grades 3–8. The curriculum included 15 units that were customized to grade levels. Of the 15-unit TEEMSS curriculum, the study examined eight science units, including three units for grades 3–4 (sound, electricity, and sensing), three units for grades 5–6 (water and air temperature, levers and machines, and monitoring a living plant), and two units for grades 7–8 (air pressure and motion). Among the eight unit outcomes, the only findings that met WWC evidence standards with reservations were those for the sound unit test for grades 3–4. The unit contained two one-week investigations of sound and vibrations with the sound grapher, a software program that is used with a microphone to record the pattern of sound vibrations, and included a discovery question, several trials, analysis, and ideas for further investigations.

Comparison Group

The comparison group included students who were taught the same science unit topics using current teaching practices. The authors indicated to the WWC that there was no single comparison curriculum, and the comparison group curricula addressed science education standards. Authors did not state if the comparison curricula were inquiry-based or used technology.

Outcome descriptions

For the pretest and posttest, students completed the sound unit test. The pretest was given to students before the teacher taught the unit, and the posttest was given upon the completion of the teaching of the unit. The posttest differed slightly from the pretest in the order of the response options and the values of the prompts (e.g., temperature) in the questions. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

Teachers had access to an online training course that provided information about the TEEMSS curriculum and technology. The study did not discuss additional support or training for teachers.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Zucker, A. A., Tinker, R., Staudt, C., Mansfield, A., & Metcalf, S. (2007, April). Increasing science learning in grades 3–8 using computers and probes: Findings from the TEEMSS II project. Proceedings of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching 2007 Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.


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