Author(s)Draper, Franklin Gno
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AbstractThis study was focused on what students remembered about five middle school science tasks when they were juniors and seniors in high school. Descriptions of the five tasks were reconstructed from available artifacts and teachers' records, notes and recollections. Three of the five tasks were "authentic" in the sense that students were asked to duplicate the decisions practitioners make in the adult world. The other two tasks were more typical school tasks involving note taking and preparation for a quiz. All five tasks, however, involved use of computers. Students were interviewed to examine what and how well they recalled the tasks and what forms or patterns of recall existed. Analysis of their responses indicated that different kinds of tasks produced different levels of recall. Authentically situated tasks were remembered much better than routine school tasks. Further, authentic tasks centered on design elements were recalled better than those for which design was not as pivotal. Patterns of recall indicated that participants most often recalled the decisions they made, the scenarios of the authentically situated tasks, the consequences of their tasks and the social contexts of the classroom. Task events, in other words, appeared to form a framework upon which students constructed stories of the tasks. The more salient the events, the richer the story, the deeper and more detailed the recall of the task. Thus, authentic tasks appeared to lend themselves to creating stories better than regular school tasks and therefore such tasks were recalled better. Implications of these patterns of recall are discussed with respect to issues of school learning and assessment.