Identifying types of science practices that are challenging for low progress students in Singapore
Undergraduate Educational Research Paper
Tay, Annabel Jie Xuan
Teo, Tang Wee
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.