AERA's more than 25,000 members are faculty, researchers, graduate students, and other distinguished professionals with rich and diverse expertise in education research. They work in a range of settings from universities and other academic institutions to research institutes, federal and state agencies, school systems, testing companies, and nonprofit organizations. Based on their research, they produce and disseminate knowledge, refine methods and measures, and stimulate translation and practical application of research results.
Abstract: The Conceptual Inventory of Natural Selection (CINS) is an example of a research-based instrument that assesses conceptual understanding in an area which contains well-documented alternative conceptions. Much of the CINS’s use and original validation has been relegated to undergraduate settings, but the information learned from student responses on the CINS can potentially be a useful resource for teachers at the secondary level as well. Because of its structure, the CINS can have a role in eliciting alternative conceptions and ultimately induce deeper conceptual understanding by having student ideas leveraged during instruction. As a result, its application must be investigated at the secondary level. In a first step towards this goal, the present study further investigated the CINS’s internal properties by having it administered to a group (n=339) of students at a predominantly Latino, economically-disadvantaged high school. Results from a principal components analysis demonstrate inconsistencies between the original and present validations, but they also provide insight into the rationale secondary students may use in answering certain items. Results also reveal how certain CINS items are structured and may be revised for future use.