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Title: A study on the implementation and practice of investigations in chemistry within secondary schools
Authors: Sultana, Stefan
Vassallo, Hazel
Vella, Maureen
Keywords: Students
Chemistry -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- Malta
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: As from the examination session of May 2009, students studying Chemistry in local secondary schools were required to submit two compulsory investigations as part of their practical portfolio for their Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) Chemistry examination. The aim of this study was to provide an initial overview of how these investigations are affecting students and teachers and how this syllabus change was being implemented. The following research questions were used to guide our research: 1. What are the teachers' views about investigations? 2. What are the students' views about investigations? 3. How do students perform in an examination question testing investigation skills? Questionnaires were distributed. Twenty two Chemistry teachers and 535 students coming from state, church and independent schools participated in our study. The responses provided information about perceived effectiveness, motivation and difficulties related to investigations. A thorough analysis of the SEC Chemistry 2009 examination scripts was also conducted. The focus was on one particular question which tested specifically investigative skills shown by the students. This research showed that the number of investigations done is quite low, with most teachers identifying the lack of time as the biggest constraint. Most investigations are currently being conducted in Form 4 and Form 5. Two thirds of the student respondents prefer traditional experiments over investigations. Students stated that investigations can be difficult and confusing, whilst others were concerned that they may be awarded a low mark for investigations compared to traditional experiments and that this would affect their examination mark. Whilst both teachers and students agree that learning is enhanced through i This research also showed that some students are not given enough autonomy during investigations, and that some teachers are providing too little or too much guidance during investigations. In fact analysis of the scripts proved that most students are trained to answer conventional examination items but struggle in questions requiring higher order thinking skills and investigative skills, unless being guided all the way.
Description: B.ED.(HONS)
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacEdu - 2011

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