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Secondary school students' attitudes to practical work in school science

Sharpe, Rachael May (2012) Secondary school students' attitudes to practical work in school science. PhD thesis, University of York.

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

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Practical work is seen as having an important role in school science. In particular many have claimed that it has an essential role in determining students' attitudes to school science and science beyond the classroom. However, whilst there has been much research into students'attitudes to science there has been little research into their attitudes to practical work in particular. This study considers students' attitudes in terms of the cognitive, affective and behavioural analytical framework developed by Rosenberg (1960). The study is based on data collected from three English secondary schools within Key Stages 3 and 4. It involved questionnaires in biology, chemistry and physics as well as school visits that involved lesson observations, semi-structured interviews and focus groups with students. Field notes and audio-recordings were made throughout these visits for subsequent analysis. The findings suggest that secondary students' attitudes to practical work are, generally speaking, positive. However, what also emerged was the extent to which such attitudes to practical work differed, not only across the three sciences, but also showed a statistically significant decline as students progressed through their secondary school education. The reason for this being that the relative importance of the cognitive, affective and behavioural domains changed as students moved away from a focus on the enjoyment of science towards one that was examination orientated. The implications of this study suggests that teachers need to be far more aware that students' attitudes to practical work need to be consider according to the science they are studying and their age, rather than seeing their attitudes to practical work being unchanging and uniform across the three sciences.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Practical work in science, English Secondary Schools, students' attitudes, affective domain, behavioural domain, cognitive domain
Academic Units: The University of York > Department of Education (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.570119
Depositing User: Miss Rachael May Sharpe
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2013 09:00
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:01
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3783

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