Addressing emerging science and technology issues: Raising scientific literacy skills of middle years students in Queensland schools

Year: 2008

Author: Kanasa, Harry, Nichols, Kim

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The current paper describes a portion of a larger project examining the effect of an inquiry-based science unit on the scientific literacy of Queensland middle years students and their parents (The unit was designed to lead students to come to a personal stance on the question, ‘Should Australia grow GM crops?’). Scientific literacy has been reconceptualised for the purposes of the project to consist of three domains: the affective, behavioural and cognitive. This model of scientific literacy will be known as the AB&C model of Scientific Literacy. Two cohorts of year 9 students from two schools were pre and post tested using a questionnaire designed to measure their scientific literacy according to the AB&C model. Like previous studies, scientific literacy within the cognitive domain improved, but unlike previous studies, so did scientific literacy within the affective domain. It will be argued that the AB&C model of scientific literacy is an effective means of conceptualising scientific literacy.