Multilevel analysis of the relationship between teachers' scientific practices and students' science learning

Year: 2017

Author: Danipog, Dennis, Harding, Susan-Marie, Redman, Chritstine

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In the Philippines, recent efforts have been directed towards the improvement of science teaching and learning. From 1945 to 2010, basic education in the Philippines covered grades 1-10 only. In 2011, the Department of Education initiated a basic education reform process, which resulted in the K-12 program. This program covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education. As part of this program, a new science curriculum was implemented in schools across the country. This new curriculum differs from the previous science curriculum in that it is designed to be student-centered and inquiry-based, emphasizing the teaching of scientific practices. The organization of the curriculum has also changed in that concepts and skills are revisited at each grade level with increasing depth, creating a 'spiral' progression.

With the implementation of the new K-12 science curriculum in the Philippines, this research examines how teachers' scientific practices are related to students' science learning. Hence, it describes the achievement of low-achieving students in an inquiry-based science, something that is not commonly reported in the literature. Specifically, this research has sought to answer this question: what is the relationship between each of these scientific practices, questioning, designing investigations, collecting data, analyzing data, developing explanations, communicating information, and student chemistry learning outcomes?

Data were collected from chemistry tests (pretest and posttest) of 526 grade 7 high-achieving and low-achieving students, lesson observations in 12 classes, and questionnaires from 10 science teachers. Test data were analyzed using Rasch modelling. The relationship between individual scientific practice and chemistry growth scores was determined using multilevel analysis with Bayesian estimation. Teachers implementation of different questioning practices were found to be associated with growth scores in chemistry after controlling for the student covariate included in the model. Questioning has the highest percentage of teaching implementation in classrooms (39%). Out of six scientific practices, however, only questioning was associated with student growth scores, and the majority of the students whose score in chemistry improved were in the low-achieving classes. So in this study, although teachers' scientific practices explained very little in the variability of chemistry growth scores, the results indicated that implementation of these practices in classrooms is a promising approach for teaching low-achieving students.