Researching a baseline: Science in Victorian schools

Year: 1998

Author: Gough, Annette

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

For some time there has been growing concern about the teaching and learning of science in Victorian schools (and elsewhere). In late 1997 a preliminary survey of some high schools undertaken by Deakin University confirmed anecdotal evidence about the negative attitudes of teachers and students to science in Years 7-10, and in April 1998 the Department of Education commissioned a baseline survey of science from P - 10 in government schools to collect data on such issues as teacher' beliefs, attitudes and practices in relation to science teaching, the priority given to science in schools and the nature and extent of support used/needed to enhance science teaching and learning. This paper will discuss both the methodology and findings of the survey in terms of of the borader picture of science teaching and learning in schools revealed by other surveys such as the Third International Study in Science and Mathematics, with a particular focus on junior secondary school years, and in the context of other research on student identity construction in the middle school years.

The paper will also address the conference theme in terms of how this type of research can count in influencing future directions for science education in Victoria.