Learning Science Facts Doesn’t Boost Science Reasoning

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A study of college freshmen in the United States and in China found that Chinese students know more science facts than their American counterparts — but both groups are nearly identical when it comes to their ability to do scientific reasoning.

Neither group is especially skilled at reasoning, however, and the study suggests that educators must go beyond teaching science facts if they hope to boost students’ reasoning ability. (Inquiry-based learning is one recommendation.) The research appears in the January 30, 2009 issue of the journal Science. Read full press release.