Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Amateur Astronomer & Knowledge Level

An interesting study found on the Astronomy Education Review website. The study measures the knowledge level of amateur astronomers as affiliated and non-affiliated club members and discusses factors that contribute to their understanding. The study attempts to answer the following questions:

1. What factors related to amateur astronomy affect knowledge of basic astronomy concepts?

2. Do amateur astronomers doing outreach represent a knowledgeable group of informal astronomy educators?

3. If they are knowledgeable, how much more knowledgeable are amateur astronomers about astronomy basics than are members of the public they serve?

Among the numerous observations and statistical measurements, outreach is a signicant part of the study to determine its contribution towards a greater understanding of basic astronomy concepts. The study's observations are informative, especially the relationships among club affiliation, outreach frequency, and level of knowledge, based on mean scores.

The actual "Astronomy Diagnostic Test Version 2" can be found
here. It is same test used to measure incoming introductory astronomy students knowledge base and determine effectiveness of the coursework.