Impact of Multiplex Relationships on Rural Science Education

Peter Knutson, Dawn Del Carlo


Relationships play a strong role in rural communities and education, and multiplex relationships – relationships that can overlap due to multiple contexts of interaction in a rural school – are unique to the rural setting. This study focused on multiplex relationships and their impact on science classroom performance, as measured by science standardized test scores, through the lens of Social Capital Theory. Quantitative survey results from rural science teachers regarding number of student relationships and state-based science test scores were correlated.  Additionally, qualitative survey answers from a subset of respondents were used to construct a more complete picture of the essence of these relationships and their perceived impacts. Results indicate multiplex relationships do not impact science test score achievement however, teacher accounts of classroom experiences with students illustrate a strong perception that multiplex relationships increase their ability to help students succeed.


science education; multiplex relationships; rural teachers


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