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A study of teachers' views towards practical work in secondary schools in England and Wales

[journal article]

Abrahams, Ian; Sağlam, Murat

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-241309

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Abstract Many teachers view practical work as an essential feature of science education. This study examined whether there had been any changes in the relative importance of the aims science teachers assign to the use of practical work, across the full secondary age range (11-18), since the last such national survey undertaken by Kerr (1963). A stratified sample of representative schools was used in which 912 teachers were sent a questionnaire on their views towards the use of practical work in science with a total of 393 responses (42.5 percent) being received. The coefficient of concordance (Kendall, 1955) of the various rankings and their significance were calculated, as too were the z-scores. The findings suggest that whilst there have been substantial changes in teachers' views towards the use of practical work at Key Stages 4 and 5 (age 15-18) there have been no substantial changes at Key Stage 3 (age 11-14). Furthermore, the results are remarkably similar across subject specialism, teacher gender, and years of teaching experience although this paper will only focus on subject specialism. It appears that changes to the assessment criteria, notably the introduction of Science Investigation (Sc1) at Key Stage 4, and a growing desire amongst educational policy makers to improve the image of science, have had an effect on how those in the teaching profession perceive the value and aims of practical work particularly at Key Stages 4 and 5.
Classification Curriculum, Teaching, Didactics
Free Keywords laboratory work; practical work; secondary school; teacher beliefs
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 753-768
Journal International Journal of Science Education, 32 (2010) 6
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500690902777410
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)