Educational Research AY2017/2018

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    Identifying types of science practices that are challenging for low progress students in Singapore
    (2019)
    Tay, Annabel Jie Xuan
    United States’ education reform document like the new A Framework for K-12 Science Education discussed a more scientific way of learning – the emphasis of scientific inquiry through Science Practices, which include both specific scientific skills and cognitive processes. Likewise, in Singapore, the importance of Science Practices is reflected as desirable learning outcomes in the secondary (Grade 7 – 11) science syllabuses. With the significance of Science Practices in education, this study serves to identify the challenging types of Science Practices for students, specifically those from the lower secondary (Grade 7 – 8) Normal streams in Singapore. In this research, these students were collectively known as the Low Progress group due to their weaker academic abilities. Three science inference tests with 35 individual items assessing various Science Practices were administered and responses were analysed with Rasch analysis. Thereafter, Science Practices were categorised into higher-order, middle-order and lower-order to reflect the students’ difficulty in applying them. Results showed that students struggled the most with Science Practices that required them to decipher information that were beyond their language abilities. These findings will be useful towards teaching, assessing, curriculum planning and research studies involving the academically weaker students.
      311  18
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    An analysis of the cognitive rigor of questions used in secondary three English textbooks
    (2019)
    Soong, Natalie Shuyi
    Textbooks are an essential component in the classroom, making it extremely crucial to regularly evaluate textbooks used in schools so that their pedagogical contributions towards the teaching and learning processes can be guaranteed.
    This study aimed to identify and analyse the cognitive levels of questions available in Secondary Three “All About English” textbooks, which have been used in Singapore since 2013. The objective of carrying out the analysis was to determine the overall cognitive rigor of questions, using a matrix superimposing two taxonomies: Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy and Webb’s Domain-of-Knowledge (DOK) model.
    The sample of this study consisted of questions from the Express and Normal Technical (NT) English language textbooks from Hodder Education, where 346 questions were analysed in total. The cognitive rigor matrix was used in the classification of the questions.
    The results revealed that in the Express level textbook, most questions were within the cell [2,3] (35.9%), consisting of Understand and “Strategic Thinking” questions. In contrary, for the Normal Technical level textbook, most questions were within the cell [5,4] (17.6%), consisting of Evaluate and “Extended Thinking” questions. Overall, there was a good mix of Lower-order thinking skill (LOTS) and Higher-order thinking skill (HOTS) questions. However, not all cognitive levels were clearly varied, with an over-emphasis on Understand and Evaluate questions, neglecting Remember and Apply questions.
    In light of the results, it is recommended that coursebook writers incorporate questions of varied cognitive demands. Similar studies should also be conducted regularly to evaluate the effectiveness of school textbooks in their potential in enhancing students’ critical thinking.
      532  18
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    Voice use in the classroom
    (2019)
    Seow, Gladys Yi Ling
    One of the occupational risks that teachers are subjected to is the development of voice problems. A study conducted by Varkey Foundation found that teachers in Singapore work an estimated of 52 hours per week (Kamil, 2018). Another study conducted by Lee and Poon (2014), found that their Singaporean teacher participants devoted 45 to 65 hours per week and thus teachers are frequently indicated to be at a higher risk of vocal disturbances.
    Using the voice consistently over long periods of hours can result in vocal problems like hoarseness of voice, vocal fatigue, laryngitis and voice loss. Long term effects of such problems can be detrimental to one’s health, leading to permanent damage of one’s vocal cords and chronic voice disorders (Machodo, Bhojwani & Sreedharan, 2017).
    With Singaporean teachers producing long teaching hours and the lack of training in voice care amongst teachers in Singapore can potentially increase the probability of developing of voice problems throughout their career. Charn and Hwei Mok (2012) provides support to the hypothesis as their findings corroborates that the teaching profession has a higher prospect for acquiring voice problems.
    Therefore, the purpose of this research is to understand the importance of voice care and preservation amongst Secondary school teachers in Singapore. This research is important towards the teaching practice because it further investigates the need for proper vocal care training amongst pre-service teachers and teachers who are currently in the service in Singapore to reduce the development of voice problems amongst educators. This study aims to find out what are some voice problems that Secondary school teachers face, why should teachers be concerned about the importance of voice care and the relevance of voice care to Singaporean teachers. With teachers relying extensively on the use of their voice every day, how can teachers themselves ensure voice preservation? Other research questions include learning about some complimentary tools that teachers use to help cope with vocal fatigue and useful measures that they have adopted to ensure voice preservation throughout their career?
      178  14
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    A study of the coverage of plastics in a national newspaper in Singapore
    (2019)
    Ong, Qi Ting
    This study examines a news medium, The Straits Times, for newspaper articles published on the topic of plastics in the year 2018. It analyses the articles through a method of coding to get an overview of the kind of topics explored in relation to plastics. Of specific interest is microplastics, which does not seem to have been given adequate attention in the mass media or literature on plastics. Articles related to the keywords “plastics” and “microplastics” were identified and coded accordingly. A total of 30 codes were generated. The findings of this study include the various frames adopted by the news media in reporting on the issue of plastics, such as “attribution of responsibility frame” and “human interest frame”. It was found that there were only 8 articles that mentioned about microplastics. A pronounced emphasis seems to be placed on recycling, reusing and reducing of plastics. In addition, there were more articles on plastics from overseas wire-agencies in the newspaper than local news reports, including those on microplastics. There is also growing interest of various stakeholders such as government, private companies and non-governmental organisations in the debate on plastics.
      236  7
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    Diachronic study of distribution of Chinese characters in 4 sets of Singapore’s primary higher Chinese textbooks
    (2019)
    Ng, Su Chi
    Chinese characters, also known as Hanzi, is one of the most difficult components when teaching Chinese language, it is also a key factor that restricts Chinese teaching. (Luo, Wang and Min, 2017) In Singapore, the main working and study language, as well as most frequently used language socially is English. This would mean that students in Singapore have attributes of a second language learner when it comes to learning Chinese. Thus, when designing the curriculum, it cannot be written according to the expectations of a first language learner. It is necessary to carefully select and design text, to reduce the learning burden of students and ensure the learning efficiency of students. This paper will compare the 4 sets of Higher Chinese Primary textbooks in Singapore (1979, 1997, 2002, 2007) with the HSK Character list. Character size, recurrence rate, usage rate and difficulty level will be analysed. Which set of textbook is more justifiable? How does the Singapore primary Higher Chinese textbooks evolve over the years?
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