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The Effects of Science Research Based Competitions on High School Students' Responses to Science

Amri, Nita Siti Raudhah (2012) The Effects of Science Research Based Competitions on High School Students' Responses to Science. PhD thesis, University of York.

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The purpose of this study is to understand the effects of Science Research Based Competitions (SRBCs) on high school students’ responses to science. SRBCs were primarily designed to develop students’ interest in science, their motivation for science learning and their science reasoning in order to provide a platform for students to show potential for carrying out research in science. But, despite their popularity, little research has so far been undertaken to evaluate the effects of SRBCs. The study explores the effects of SRBCs on students’ responses to science from the perspective of three different groups of people: key informants (government staff, SRBC funders), teachers and students. A series of case studies was carried out in six residential schools in Malaysia. Data were gathered from four key informants, six teachers and 360 sixteen-year-old student participants, divided into six groups, in Form 4 of secondary school. Students’ responses to science were explored in a number of ways. Data on attitudes towards science were gathered through the Relevance of Science Education (ROSE) questionnaire, and the findings are compared with those of the ROSE National Survey Data for Malaysia carried out in 2004. Additional data were gathered through interviews with students and from student diaries. Students in residential schools showed more positive responses to science in a number of areas when compared with the ROSE National Survey Data. In particular, students expressed a preference for jobs which favoured recognition after accomplishing challenges, and which offered creative tasks. In contrast, they shared similar views to those found in the national survey towards school science. The study indicates that SRBCs deepen students’ interest in pursuing science and create an ability to apply knowledge which is related to it. The students reported that science is much more enjoyable when it involves autonomous learning and research activity. Students were influenced by their mentors (the teachers running the SRBCs in their schools), the types of project and the degree of external involvement. The teachers reported positive developments in their students’ science processing skills, and their knowledge and awareness of science in general. The students also developed confidence in time management, communication and handling stress along with the project. This represents a revealing insight into the views of the three main components of SRBCs; the organisers/sponsors, the practitioners and the participants.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Science Education, Science Competitions, High School Students, Responses to Science, Attitudes to Science, Research Based Competitions
Academic Units: The University of York > Department of Education (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.581608
Depositing User: Mrs Nita Siti Raudhah Amri
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2013 13:52
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:02
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/4626

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