Meeting 20 (8th Oct. 2013): Schools that make a difference to post-compulsory uptake of science

The next meet­ing will take place on Tues­day 8th Octo­ber at 7:30pm and will be mod­er­ated by @alomshaha.

Ben­nett et al. (2013) Schools that make a dif­fer­ence to post-compulsory uptake of phys­i­cal sci­ence sub­jects: some com­par­a­tive case stud­ies in in Eng­land. Inter­na­tional Jour­nal of Sci­ence Edu­ca­tion, 35:4, 663–689, DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2011.641131 (PDF here).

Abstract: This paper presents the find­ings of the qual­i­ta­tive com­po­nent of a com­bined meth­ods research study that explores a range of indi­vid­ual and school fac­tors that influ­ence the uptake of chem­istry and physics in post– com­pul­sory study in Eng­land. The first phase involves using the National Pupil Data­base to pro­vide a sam­pling frame to iden­tify four matched pairs of high-uptake and low-uptake schools by salient school fac­tors. Case stud­ies of these eight schools indi­cate that stu­dents employ selec­tion strate­gies related to their career aspi­ra­tions, their sense of iden­tity and tac­tics, and their prior expe­ri­ence. The school fac­tors influ­enc­ing sub­ject choice relate to school man­age­ment, stu­dent sup­port and guid­ance, and stu­dent empow­er­ment. The most notable dif­fer­ences between stu­dents in high-uptake and low-uptake schools are that stu­dents in high-uptake schools appear to make a proac­tive choice in rela­tion to career aspi­ra­tions, rather than a reac­tive choice on the basis of past expe­ri­ence. Schools with a high uptake offer a diverse sci­ence cur­ricu­lum in the final two years of com­pul­sory study, set higher exam­i­na­tion entry require­ments for fur­ther study and, cru­cially, pro­vide a range of oppor­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents to inter­act with the world of work and to gain knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence of science-related careers.

Dis­cus­sion points

  1. How impor­tant is it in your school to increase the num­ber of stu­dents tak­ing sci­ence sub­jects post-16? Why?
  2. Schools where sci­ence were taught sep­a­rately at GCSE (triple sci­ence) had higher lev­els of uptake than schools where triple sci­ence was not offered”. Why might this be the case? Would you use this as an argu­ment for doing triple sci­ence in your school? (Note that: “the pro­vi­sion of a triple sci­ence option did not, in itself, appear to have a uni­ver­sally pos­i­tive effect, rather, there were ben­e­fits when it was offered as one of a num­ber of choices”)
  3. Pupils in high-uptake schools were more likely to make a proac­tive choice: they were look­ing towards their future, they saw them­selves as in con­trol, and saw the value of study­ing chem­istry and/or physics for their intended career”. If we want more stu­dents to study sci­ence post-16, should we be mak­ing more of the pos­si­ble career benefits?
  4. Low-uptake schools had “less strin­gent require­ments for sci­ence grades at GCSE than high uptake schools”. Could such find­ings influ­ence your school’s pol­icy on this? Or do you think requir­ing high GCSE grades is unfair to those who have low grades but want to con­tinue to study science?

With thanks to the Mary White­house and the Uni­ver­sity of York Sci­ence Edu­ca­tion Group, who first made us aware of this research and have made the paper avail­able for us to access for this meeting.

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#SciTeachJC: Discrete KS3 HSW

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Meeting Nineteen (7th May): A School’s Experience of the Discrete Teaching of Scientific Skills at Early Secondary Level

The next meet­ing will take place on Tues­day 7th May at 7:30pm and will be mod­er­ated by @teachingofsci.

Grime, R (2012) A School’s Expe­ri­ence of the Dis­crete Teach­ing of Sci­en­tific Skills at Early Sec­ondary Level, SSR 346 (.pdf)

Abstract: Stu­dents at age 11 or 12 took a course where sci­en­tific skills were taught dis­cretely rather than in an inte­grated approach along­side sci­en­tific knowl­edge and under­stand­ing. There is evi­dence that this may be a more ben­e­fi­cial approach for devel­op­ing sci­en­tific skills.

Dis­cus­sion points

  1. How would the expe­ri­ences in this case study inform your per­sonal class­room prac­tice? Given the oppor­tu­nity, would you rec­om­mend a sim­i­lar approach in KS3 across your department?
  2. With changes to con­trolled assess­ment at GCSE there is an assump­tion that many schools are teach­ing sci­en­tific skills in iso­la­tion, often with a strong empha­sis on the con­text of the ISA/EMPA/etc. Does the paper sup­port this approach? How could it best be man­aged for bet­ter learn­ing as well as sup­port­ing stu­dents to achieve good results?
  3. The paper shows how action research at a school level can pro­vide evi­dence in sup­port of changes. What lessons could you learn from this when con­sid­er­ing pol­icy changes in your department?
  4. With the recent atten­tion paid to the use of RCTs to inform edu­ca­tion pol­icy, how could the results of tri­als such as this one be used to inform the design of larger-scale stud­ies? Would it be pos­si­ble to avoid the out­come mea­sure being used to judge schools rather than interventions?

With thanks to the ASE, who were happy to make the arti­cle open-access so we could dis­cuss it. If you are inter­ested in peer-led research — and not already a mem­ber — you may be inter­ested in their mem­ber­ship options. These include sub­scrip­tions to School Sci­ence Review, the source of this article.

 

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Meeting Eighteen (16th April) The Impact of Teacher Subject Knowledge on Student Achievement: Evidence from Within-Teacher Within-Student Variation

The next meet­ing will take place on 16th April at 7:30pm and will be mod­er­ated by @AlomShaha.

Met­zler, Johannes & Woess­mann, Ludger (2010) The Impact of Teacher Sub­ject Knowl­edge on Stu­dent Achieve­ment: Evi­dence from Within-Teacher Within-Student Vari­a­tion IZA DP No. 4999 [PDF]

Abstract:

Teach­ers dif­fer greatly in how much they teach their stu­dents, but lit­tle is known about which teacher attrib­utes account for this. We esti­mate the causal effect of teacher sub­ject knowl­edge on stu­dent achieve­ment using within-teacher within-student vari­a­tion, exploit­ing a unique Peru­vian 6th-grade dataset that tested both stu­dents and their teach­ers in two sub­jects. We cir­cum­vent omitted-variable and selec­tion biases using stu­dent and teacher fixed effects and observ­ing teach­ers teach­ing both sub­jects in one-classroom-per-grade schools. After measurement-error cor­rec­tion, one stan­dard devi­a­tion in subject-specific teacher achieve­ment increases stu­dent achieve­ment by about 10 per­cent of a stan­dard deviation.

Dis­cus­sion Points

The ques­tions SciTeachJC will focus on for this chat are:

  • “The results sug­gest that teacher sub­ject knowl­edge should be clearly on the agenda of edu­ca­tional admin­is­tra­tors and policy-makers”. If sub­ject knowl­edge is demon­stra­bly crit­i­cal for teacher qual­ity, should reg­u­lar sub­ject knowl­edge CPD be compulsory?
  • What efforts have you made since start­ing teach­ing to improve your sub­ject knowledge?
  • Sci­ence teach­ers often teach sub­jects other than their own (as do many other teach­ers). Do you think you do a bet­ter job in your own specialism?
  • “While there is clear evi­dence that teacher qual­ity is a key deter­mi­nant of stu­dent learn­ing, lit­tle is known about which spe­cific observ­able char­ac­ter­is­tics of teach­ers can account for this impact” — What char­ac­ter­is­tics do you think are most impor­tant in a teacher?

@AlomShaha will be mod­er­at­ing the discussion.

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Meeting Seventeen (19th March) The use of ethical frameworks by students following a new science course for 16–18 year-olds

Reiss, Michael (2008) The use of eth­i­cal frame­works by stu­dents fol­low­ing a new sci­ence
course for 16–18 year-olds. Sci­ence & Edu­ca­tion, 17 (8–9). pp. 889–902. ISSN 0926 7220 [PDF]

Abstract:

There has been a move in recent years towards the greater inclu­sion of social and eth­i­cal issues within sci­ence courses. This paper exam­ines a new context-based course for 16–18 year-olds (Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biol­ogy) who are study­ing biol­ogy in Eng­land and Wales. The course is taught through con­texts and has an empha­sis on social issues and the devel­op­ment of eth­i­cal rea­son­ing. Exam­i­na­tion of a sam­ple of reports writ­ten by stu­dents in 2005 as part of the course‟s sum­ma­tive assess­ment shows that util­i­tar­ian eth­i­cal rea­son­ing is used widely and that the other eth­i­cal frame­works to which stu­dents are intro­duced in the course – rights and duties, auton­omy and virtue ethics – are used sub­stan­tially less often. In addi­tion, stu­dents mostly argue anthro­pocen­tri­cally though many of them argue eco­cen­tri­cally and/or bio­cen­tri­cally too.

In this paper I dis­cuss the devel­op­ment, imple­men­ta­tion and assess­ment of a way of teach­ing about social and eth­i­cal issues within a context-based course for 16–18 year-olds study­ing biol­ogy in Eng­land and Wales, focus­ing on the eth­i­cal frame­works used by a sam­ple of the stu­dents on the course in some of their exter­nally assessed exam­i­na­tion mate­r­ial. The course in ques­tion (Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biol­ogy) was piloted from Sep­tem­ber 2002 and launched nation­ally in Sep­tem­ber 2005 as a result of approval from the national body charged with mak­ing such deci­sions (the Qual­i­fi­ca­tions and Cur­ricu­lum Author­ity). The course is taught through con­texts and has a strong empha­sis on social aspects of biol­ogy and the eth­i­cal analy­sis of bio­log­i­cal issues.

Dis­cus­sion Points

Sci­ence does not exist in a vac­uum, we can­not teach it as a set of facts, figures, processes and ideas with­out brin­ing in some con­text of where it fits in to the real world. Real-life appli­ca­tions are used in lessons to help explain what is being learned as well as to pro­vide stim­u­lus mate­r­ial as to the rea­son why we are learn­ing about this. As sci­en­tific ideas become more involved in how we lead out every­day lives the area of ethics becomes more rel­e­vant. Is what sci­ence can do right?

Yeah, yeah, but your sci­en­tists were so pre­oc­cu­pied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should. — Dr. Ian Mal­colm (Juras­sic Park)

The eth­i­cal impli­ca­tions of sci­ence is part of the KeyStage4 Cur­ricu­lum and A Level specifi­ca­tions, but do we teach it well in all aspects of sci­ence. The area of Bioethics is great for Biol­ogy top­ics but are there oppor­tu­ni­ties in Physics and Chem­istry lessons. In Michael Riess’ paper he out­lines the Eth­i­cal Frame­work that is used in the Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biol­ogy (SNAB) course which is now inte­grated into the Edex­cel A Level post 2009.

To con­struct an eth­i­cal argu­ment one of four pos­si­ble areas could be used to jus­tify your position

  • Rights and Duties
  • Max­imis­ing the amount of good in the world
  • Mak­ing deci­sions for yourself
  • Lead­ing a vir­tu­ous life

Could this frame­work be extended to be used in all the sci­ence disciplines?

The ques­tions SciTeachJC will focus on for this chat are:

  • What top­ics out­side of biol­ogy do you use to dis­cuss ethics in science?
  • Do you think the SNAB Eth­i­cal Frame­work is good enough to be used in all science/ethics lessons?
  • How do you get stu­dents to think about other people’s opin­ions and view­points in class?

@Bio_Joe will be mod­er­at­ing the discussion.

Use­ful Links

Bioethics Edu­ca­tion Project

Physics & Ethics Edu­ca­tion Project

The Sim­ple­tons, a KS4 Sci­ence Upd8 activ­ity intro­duc­ing the eth­i­cal framework

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Summary of Meeting Sixteen

Firstly, thanks for all those who took part in #sciteachjc last Tues­day. It was a great start to the year and got quite a bit of atten­tion build­ing up to the meet­ing not least from one of the paper’s authors:

#sciteachjc dis­cussing RCTs in edu­ca­tion as dis­cussed in our Cab­i­net Office paper http://t.co/2mh508IR via @
@bengoldacre
ben goldacre

Sec­ondly, Alom doesn’t think peo­ple read to the bot­tom of blog posts ;), so I’ll post up the date of the next meet­ing at the top. The next meet­ing will be held 12th Feb­ru­ary and @teachingofsci will be your host. The topic is yet to be con­firmed, how­ever we’re aim­ing to do some­thing that is able to have an imme­di­ate impact on your teach­ing the next day in the classroom.

A sum­mary of the dis­cus­sion on RCTs: (we had 222 tweets dur­ing the hour we were discussing)

@DrRacheal opened with the ele­phant in the room:

Well, I’ve got to say, as an “ex” sci­en­tist, it beg­gars belief why this sys­tem isn’t used already. #sciteachjc
@DrRacheal
Dr Racheal

In real­ity, RCTs are used in edu­ca­tional research. How­ever it was inter­est­ing to con­sider whether teach­ers could run them within school.

The responses to the first ques­tion: Would you con­sider run­ning or tak­ing part in a ran­domised con­trol trial in your school?

@alomshaha raised the con­cerns of a few peo­ple involved in the dis­cus­sion:

@ Some peo­ple think there might be eth­i­cal issues and also prac­ti­cal issues of *actu­ally* car­ry­ing out RCTs? #SciTeachJC
@alomshaha
Alom Shaha

@ryansecondarysc responded with a sim­i­lar point to that made in the Radio 4 doc­u­men­tary:

@ @ #sciteachjc eth­i­cal issues are overblown though surely. Less eth­i­cal to sub­ject all stu­dents to a fail­ing method?

This was also backed up by @teachingofsci
#SciTeachJC I think idea in paper, that we do all these dif­fer­ent inter­ven­tions *any­way*, mean it’s *more* eth­i­cal to find out which work

and @bio_joe
@ @ @ @ it’s the teach­ing prac­tice that’s being exper­i­mented on not the stu­dents #sciteachjc
@Bio_Joe
Joe Wright

Both @teachingofsci and @miss_mcinerney sug­gested that RCTs might not be appro­pri­ate to run within school due to prac­ti­cal­i­ties.

#SciTeachJC one of my thoughts was that it would work best between schools, rather than between classes.

@ @ @ #sciteachjc I agree that eth­i­cal issues are overblown; prac­ti­cal issues are more problematic.
@miss_mcinerney
Laura McIn­er­ney

This was con­curred by oth­ers in the dis­cus­sion. The gen­eral feel­ing so far is that imple­ment­ing an RCT within a school is prob­lem­atic.
The idea raised by @bio_joe

Stu­dents are given dif­fer­ent teach­ers based on the click of a timetable pro­gramme. within an insti­tu­tion can you see who’s good? #sciteachjc
@Bio_Joe
Joe Wright

sug­gested that the dif­fer­ent classes assigned to teach­ers might be suit­able as sam­ples, but in gen­eral it was felt the sam­ple size would be too small, and that the sam­ples wouldn’t be ran­domly picked. Indeed @miss_mcinerney made this point:
@ @ @ #SciTeachJC Exactly. Most peo­ple place kids in classes care­fully based on behav­iour dynamics.
@miss_mcinerney
Laura McIn­er­ney

and DrRacheal this:
@ @ @ And of course classes are set based on pupil per­for­mance, too. #sciteachjc
@DrRacheal
Dr Racheal

What about between schools?

@ #SciTeachJC But dif­fer­ent schools often wildly dif­fer­ent on many vari­ables. This is more of a quasi-experiment than an RCT.
@miss_mcinerney
Laura McIn­er­ney

There were some great ideas about the design of RCTs, mainly between @miss_mcinerney and @teachingofsci e.g.

@ so recruit, pair schools that are as sim­i­lar as pos­si­ble, then ran­dom­ize which receives A/B inter­ven­tion? #SciTeachJC

@ Why par­al­lel? Why not ‘before’ and ‘after’? E.g. do 1 term w/out then 1 term with? Or com­pare to pre­vi­ous year? #sciteachjc
@miss_mcinerney
Laura McIn­er­ney

I asked:

Could RCTs be done ret­ro­spec­tively? i.e. find set­tings that have imple­mented com­pet­ing meth­ods and study ran­dom stu­dents? #sciteachjc
@A_Weatherall
Alex Weather­all

but @ryansecondarysc and @miss_mcinerney pointed out that this would no longer be an RCT.
@ #sciteachjc that would be more of a case study than an RCT, as with­out pre-agreeing mea­sur­able out­comes, open to bias etc.

@ #sciteachjc That’s quasi-experiment. Can be done, and very use­fully, you just need to do stats a lit­tle dif­fer­ently to account
@miss_mcinerney
Laura McIn­er­ney

and @tom_hartley added
@ + with big data from many schools: hier­ar­chi­cal stats to model effects of school/teacher sep­a­rately, I think #SciTeachJC
@tom_hartley
Tom Hart­ley

We focused again on the ethics with ques­tion two What con­cerns do you have with the eth­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions of using RCTs in edu­ca­tional research?

@oldandrewuk was con­cerned about whether teach­ers would be happy to take part in an RCT:

@ @ @ #sciteachjc There’s a dif­fer­ence between teach­ers try­ing what they think might work & a formal…
@oldandrewuk
Andrew Old

@ @ @ …exper­i­ment organ­ised by out­siders over-riding teacher’s pro­fes­sional judge­ment. #sciteachjc
@oldandrewuk
Andrew Old

@ #sciteachjc My con­cern is that teacher’s would be made to per­sist with meth­ods they see fail­ing, in order to test them.
@oldandrewuk
Andrew Old

@dfalc agreed:
#sciteachjc a teacher s pro­fes­sional judge­ment may be com­pro­mised and have a neg­a­tive impact on stu­dent learning
@DFalc
DFal­coner

@Bio_joe pointed out that :
@ @ in med­ical tri­als if the drug is doing really badly then they will stop the study, eva­l­u­taion is key #sciteachjc
@Bio_Joe
Joe Wright

and I added:
RCTs are usu­ally done in med­ical tri­als after they’ve been shown not to have a neg­a­tive effect. Find out which is best #sciteachjc
@A_Weatherall
Alex Weather­all

@miss_mcinerney made the point that

@ #sciteachjc There’s also evi­dence to sug­gest that if teach­ers don’t agree/believe in the inter­ven­tion it’s less likely to work
@miss_mcinerney
Laura McIn­er­ney

to which I coined a new phrase (we think)

@alomshaha asked

@ Are there any exam­ples of good RCTs which have been done in edu­ca­tion? @ #SciTeachJC
@alomshaha
Alom Shaha

I high­lighted some that I’d seen, but hadn’t had a chance to read fully:

and @teachingofsci said:
#SciTeachJC a lot more is hap­pen­ing in the US it seems — see http://t.co/axzVqrBc for some discussion.

@bio_joe asked
I would like to hear from a teacher that has been involved in an edu­ca­tion RCT. What actu­ally hap­pened. #sciteachjc
@Bio_Joe
Joe Wright

Final ques­tion: Which edu­ca­tional inter­ven­tion would you like to see more evi­dence for, in the form of RCTs (or other methodology)?

@alomshaha sug­gested his favourite topic:

@ Prac­ti­cal work in sci­ence ;) #SciTeachJC
@alomshaha
Alom Shaha

and @Bio_Joe

but we descended (no thanks to me) into a dis­cus­sion on ensur­ing that teach­ers were aware of any research that had been done and the lack of open avail­abil­ity to research.

#sciteachjc Research has to be made eas­ily avail­able to teach­ers and pol­icy mak­ers (SLT or gov). We must know why?
@A_Weatherall
Alex Weather­all

Oth­er­wise we are just going through the motions of imple­men­ta­tion. http://t.co/eVOHwP2R #sciteachjc
@A_Weatherall
Alex Weather­all

#SciTeachJC *yes* — clear­ing house of ed research sum­maries, class­room ready, funded cen­trally for us all.

@ #sciteachjc I agree. (In fact, I wrote some­thing sim­i­lar in a blog for @ http://t.co/hM1SMM94)
@miss_mcinerney
Laura McIn­er­ney

Here is a selec­tion of the links posted by @teachingofsci dur­ing the discussion

There are loads of other valid points that were made, and @bio_joe, @oldandrewuk and @ryansecondarysc car­ried on the dis­cus­sion after­wards. In all a good start to the year, and remem­ber the next meet­ing on the 12th Feb­ru­ary. (Did you get to the bot­tom of the post?)

Here is a full Storify archive com­piled by @eyebeams (thanks):
http://storify.com/eyebeams/rct-discussion-on-sciteachjc

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Meeting Sixteen (15th January 2013): Randomised Controlled Trials in Educational Research

Happy New Year!

It’s been 6 months since our last meet­ing. Both @Alby and @AlomShaha have been unavail­able to run the club over the lat­ter half of 2012 and the autumn school term is tra­di­tion­ally a long and stress­ful term so, despite a few false starts, we’ve not been able to get things up and run­ning again. Until now.

The first meet­ing of 2013 (15th Jan­u­ary at 7:30pm) is inspired by the doc­u­men­tary on Radio 4 last week, where Ben Goldacre dis­cusses using evi­dence to inform pol­icy, con­cen­trat­ing on how suit­able ran­domised con­trolled tri­als (RCTs) might be when used in as evi­dence for social poli­cies in areas such as crime and edu­ca­tion. This pro­gramme can be down­loaded before Fri­day 11th Jan­u­ary from here http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r4choice. It’s not pos­si­ble for us to dis­trib­ute this pod­cast after this time as it con­tra­venes BBC pol­icy so down­load it as soon as possible.

There are some use­ful papers we could dis­cuss how­ever we suf­fer from the usual prob­lems  i.e.: a lack of open access to research papers. So for this meet­ing, we will look at the paper writ­ten for the Cab­i­net Office by Dr Ben Goldacre, Pro­fes­sor David Torg­er­son et al:

Test, Learn, Adapt: Devel­op­ing Pub­lic Pol­icy with Ran­domised Con­trolled Trials.

Haynes L., Ser­vice, O., Goldacre, B., Torg­er­son D. (2012). Test, Learn, Adapt: Devel­op­ing Pub­lic Pol­icy with Ran­domised Con­trolled Tri­als. Cab­i­net Office Behav­ioural
Insights Team
http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/test-learn-adapt-developing-public-policy-randomised-controlled-trials [down­load .pdf]

The paper doesn’t con­cen­trate exclu­sively on RCTs in edu­ca­tional research, but there are some exam­ples within that do sug­gest that RCTs should be used to form edu­ca­tion policy.

To com­ple­ment the paper here are some other open ref­er­ence mate­ri­als that are available:

Ques­tions to dis­cuss dur­ing the meet­ing are :

1. How well would the meth­ods described in the paper work in your school? Would you con­sider run­ning or tak­ing part in a ran­domised con­trol trial in your school? Why or why not?
2. What con­cerns do you have with the eth­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions of using RCTs in edu­ca­tional research?
3. Do you agree with Ben’s asser­tion (in the doc­u­men­tary) that RCTs pro­vide bet­ter evi­dence (“the gold stan­dard”) than other meth­ods of research for social sci­ences.
4. Which edu­ca­tional inter­ven­tion would you like to see more evi­dence for, in the form of RCTs (or other methodology)?

The meet­ing is Tues­day, 15th Jan­u­ary 2013 at 7:30pm UTC, to be mod­er­ated by @A_Weatherall. Remem­ber to use the hash­tag #sciteachjc dur­ing the discussion.

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Meeting Fifteen (17th July): Literacy in Science

The title is not a typo; we will not be dis­cussing sci­en­tific lit­er­acy, a theme we have dis­cussed sev­eral times (but if you want more, I strongly rec­om­mend Alice Bell’s refresh­ing sug­ges­tion that this one isn’t just for teach­ers to worry about.)

Rather than an aca­d­e­mic paper, these two arti­cles dis­cuss the effec­tive use of lit­er­acy skills in sci­ence class­rooms. Based on research and expe­ri­ence with young Amer­i­can stu­dents in the equiv­a­lent of Key Stage 2 and early Key Stage 3, the authors empha­size the need for much greater delib­er­ate teach­ing of sci­en­tific vocab­u­lary. Between the two short arti­cles, sug­ges­tions are made for teach­ing both con­tent knowl­edge and the ways in which we jus­tify our knowl­edge, highly rel­e­vant for sci­en­tific method work.

Ross, D., Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2009). The art of argu­men­ta­tion. Sci­ence and Chil­dren, 47(3), 28–31. Down­load .pdf

Grant, M., Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2009). Sci­ence lit­er­acy is > strate­gies. Clear­ing House, 82(4), 183–186. Down­load .pdf

  1. These papers are focused on younger stu­dents. How do the ideas apply to the age groups you teach?
  2. Do you already pro­vide writ­ing frames or tem­plates to pro­mote dis­cus­sion of sci­en­tific meth­ods and the use of rea­soned argu­ment? If not, how would you adapt the exam­ples given for dis­tri­b­u­tion to stu­dents or as dis­plays in your lab?
  3. Do you use any spe­cific texts or sources when pro­vid­ing wider read­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to stu­dents? How do they respond to this? How do you assess their progress?
  4. Do we take too much for granted in terms of stu­dents’ lit­er­acy devel­op­ment? How can this be addressed at a class­room, depart­ment and school level?

Tues­day 17th July at 7.30, to be mod­er­ated by @teachingofsci.

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Archive: Meeting Thirteen

Hi every­one and wel­come to this weeks #SciTeachJC on Stu­dent Atti­tudes to Sci­ence Edu­ca­tion with your host @ http://t.co/bDK93uqE
@SciTeachJC
Sci­ence Teach­ing JC

Please remem­ber to add #SciteachJC to your tweets so they can be read by all participants.
@SciTeachJC
Sci­ence Teach­ing JC

Hello #SciTeachJC, I’m a Physics teacher at a state com­pre­hen­sive in London.
@alomshaha
Alom Shaha

Hi, I’m a biol­ogy teacher in post 16 edu­ca­tion also study­ing for my MSc in sci­ence and edu­ca­tion #SciteachJC
@Bio_Joe
Joe Wright

join­ing #SciteachJC more as a par­ent who’s son has been turned right off sci­ence since start­ing sec­ondary school
@smurfatik
Fiona Luna

The paper has been highly cited over the years but is now quite old (’03) do you think the find­ings are still rel­e­vant? #SciteachJC
@SciTeachJC
Sci­ence Teach­ing JC

Hi #SciteachJC, I’m a sci­ence teacher at a com­pre­hen­sive in Berks. A Biol­ogy spe­cial­ist at A level.
@DrRacheal
Dr Racheal

“sin­gle most impor­tant to improve sci­ence edu­ca­tion would be recruit­ment & reten­tion of able, bright enthu­si­as­tic teach­ers” #SciTeachJC
@alomshaha
Alom Shaha

I found myself agree­ing with a lot of the paper as I read it, have things changed at all? #SciteachJC
@Bio_Joe
Joe Wright

my son’s expe­ri­ence says it is very rel­e­vant — he finds the cur­ricu­lum dull & repet­i­tive & his teach­ers unin­spir­ing #SciTeachJC
@smurfatik
Fiona Luna

Hi #SciTeachJC, I’m a chem­istry teacher at sec­ondary level and did a MA in Sci­ence Edu­ca­tion at King’s a few years ago.

@ I actu­ally think that the sit­u­a­tion has changed quite a bit since the data in the paper were pub­lished. #SciteachJC

@ Sus­pect line about stu­dents only being able to name dead sci­en­tists might now be changed to “…and Brian Cox” #SciTeachJC ;)
@alomshaha
Alom Shaha

RT @: #SciteachJC about to start…
@flimsin
Tam­sin Edwards

@ what do you think has changed most? #SciteachJC
@SciTeachJC
Sci­ence Teach­ing JC

@ I TOTALLY agree with you from my expe­ri­ence as an inter­nal AST, this is the issue my stu­dents bring up #SciteachJC
@DrRacheal
Dr Racheal

son also says labs are unin­spir­ing but that is often down to what the teach­ers choose but teacher is biggest impact for him #SciTeachJC
@smurfatik
Fiona Luna

@ That’s a great quote, where is it from? Any research I could refer to for a pol­icy doc I’m putting together? #SciTeachJC
@DrTomCrick
Dr Tom Crick


@ they know Jim Al-Khalili too which is more than can be said for our SLT (post 16 FE) #SciTeachJC
@mariamush
mari­a­mush

@ It’s from the paper we’re dis­cussing for tonight’s #SciTeachJC: http://t.co/gM5WgUzw
@alomshaha
Alom Shaha

@ @ Alom once said to me that Eng­lish teach­ers write, Art teach­ers paint but sci­ence teach­ers get by #SciTeachJC
@jimbobthomas
James Thomas

RT @: @ they know Jim Al-Khalili too which is more than can be said for our SLT (post 16 FE) #SciTeachJC
@alomshaha
Alom Shaha

@ more recent fig­ures show num­bers study­ing A level sci­ences increased. Still work to do but not such doom as in paper.#SciteachJC

@ When you say labs do you mean decor or prac­ti­cal activ­i­ties? #SciteachJC
@DrRacheal
Dr Racheal

@ Thanks–sorry for jump­ing into the mid­dle of #SciTeachJC! Inter­ested from a com­puter sci­ence per­spec­tive, espe­cially for ITT/CPD.
@DrTomCrick
Dr Tom Crick

@ yes num­ber have increased but there are still stu­dents who are turned off sci­ence at a young age #SciteachJC
@SciTeachJC
Sci­ence Teach­ing JC

@ @ We have such a fer­tile field to seed by explain­ing the real­ity of sci­ence edu­ca­tion.#SciTeachJC
@jimbobthomas
James Thomas

#SciteachJC atti­tudes don’t seem have changed sig­nif­i­cantly since the paper was writ­ten. Recent inter­view with some 13 year olds says not.
@brendanaylor
Brenda Nay­lor

@ no I didn’t; I looked at data up to 2008 in my MA dis­ser­ta­tion though. #SciTeachJC

@ he says they do few prac­ti­cals & the work they do is dic­tated to them and lab sheets (he is doing triple sci btw) #SciTeachJC
@smurfatik
Fiona Luna

@ #SciteachJC agree lots turned off early on.
@brendanaylor
Brenda Nay­lor

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Meeting fourteen (3rd July): Attitudes towards science

Jonathan Osborne, Shirley Simon & Sue Collins (2003): Atti­tudes towards sci­ence: A review of the lit­er­a­ture and its impli­ca­tions, Inter­na­tional Jour­nal of Sci­ence Edu­ca­tion, 25:9, 1049–1079 [down­load .pdf  234kb]

Abstract:

This arti­cle offers a review of the major lit­er­a­ture about atti­tudes to sci­ence and its impli­ca­tions over the past 20 years. It argues that the con­tin­u­ing decline in num­bers choos­ing to study sci­ence at the point of choice requires a research focus on stu­dents’ atti­tudes to sci­ence if the nature of the prob­lem is to be under­stood and reme­di­ated. Start­ing from a con­sid­er­a­tion of what is meant by atti­tudes to sci­ence, it con­sid­ers the prob­lems inher­ent to their mea­sure­ment, what is known about stu­dents’ atti­tudes towards sci­ence and the many fac­tors of influ­ence such as gen­der, teach­ers, cur­ric­ula, cul­tural and other vari­ables. The lit­er­a­ture itself points to the cru­cial impor­tance of gen­der and the qual­ity of teach­ing. Given the impor­tance of the lat­ter we argue that there is a greater need for research to iden­tify those aspects of sci­ence teach­ing that make school sci­ence engag­ing for pupils. In par­tic­u­lar, a grow­ing body of research on moti­va­tion offers impor­tant point­ers to the kind of class­room envi­ron­ment and activ­i­ties that might raise pupils’ inter­est in study­ing school sci­ence and a focus for future research.

This paper is still the most read and most cited paper from the IJSE and was in the top 10 most cited papers in Sci­ence Edu­ca­tion Research accord­ing to Min‐Hsien Lee, Ying‐Tien Wu & Chin‐Chung Tsai, 2009 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500690802314876).

Key Con­clu­sions:

  • Stu­dents are alien­ated by school sci­ence a sub­ject that has an increas­ing sig­nif­i­cance in per­sonal and soci­etal life.
  • Research has iden­ti­fied this alien­ation as a prob­lem but has lit­tle to say about a solution.
  • Research sug­gests that good teach­ing and sit­u­a­tional inter­est will improve stu­dent motivation
  • Stu­dents desire oppor­tu­ni­ties for more prac­ti­cal work, extended inves­ti­ga­tion and discussion
  • A bet­ter under­stand­ing of what sci­ence class­room activ­i­ties that enhance stu­dent moti­va­tion is needed; the paper sug­gests that tasks need inter­est, impor­tance and utility.

Dis­cus­sion Points:

  • This paper is influ­en­tial but quite out of date now, how rel­e­vant are the find­ings and con­clu­sions today?
  • Is there any­thing miss­ing from this paper that should be exam­ined to under­stand stu­dent atti­tudes towards science?
  • Are there any issues that we now have a bet­ter under­stand­ing of?
  • Stu­dent inter­est in sci­ence lessons declines when they start sec­ondary school, how can we as teach­ers stop that from happening?
  • p1067 lists com­mon aspects of teach­ing that are per­ceived to be effec­tive, do you agree with that list? Is there any­thing you would add?
  • Sci­ence is a superb and daz­zling hall, but one which may be reached only by pass­ing though a long and ghastly kitchen” How can we as teach­ers make the kitchen less ghastly?

Thanks to Pro­fes­sor Jonathan Osborne for input on these dis­cus­sion points. You may also wish to read this update paper (Atti­tudes Toward Sci­ence (Update) Osborne,Simon & Tytler) sent to me by Pro­fes­sor Osborne, the major ele­ment of it has been a focus on iden­tity to try and explain the para­dox of a soci­ety which is so depen­dent on STEM but which fails to engage many young people.

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