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Socio-scientific issues in national tests: Discerning selective traditions science teaching
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3386-3411
2014 (English)In: The Past, Present and Future of  Educational Research in Europe, 2014Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-33045OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-33045DiVA: diva2:957158
Conference
The European Conference on Educational Research, Sept 2nd- 5th, Porto, Portugal
Note

In 2010 there were national tests in biology, physics and chemistry introduced in the Swedish comprehensive school, year 9 (15-16 years), primarily in order to create better conditions for a more equal and fair assessment of students. This introduction rests on the assumption that all teachers will approach the test and the actual science content in a uniform way and mark the tests equivalently. However, results from earlier research show that there are different ways to approach science teaching in general. There are patterns in teachers’ preferences in educational situations concerning for example the view on what knowledge is important, the purposes and benefits of learning science and how teaching should be connected to community and/or students’ everyday life. When these type of teachers’ choices are made systematically over time they are developed into what is named in this article as selective traditions in science teaching. The methodology is inspired by earlier research in the area of environmental and sustainability education which is a topic in research about socio-scientific issues. A well-developed analytical tool is applied on responses in semi-structured interviews of twenty-nine science teachers.

 

In these Swedish national tests there are many questions focusing ‘canonical’ science knowledge for example facts and figures about pH and electricity. But there are also introduced matters starting in contexts connected to societal development with consequences for example environmental and sustainability issues. These are concerning questions for example like problems with acid rain, different challenges for energy production and a better use of natural resources when recycling waste (Lundqvist, Lidar, & Almqvist, 2013).

 

Some of the questions in these national science tests are thus well connected to socio-scientific issues. SSI can be regarded as real world issues that are socially significant and rooted in science (Zeidler, Walker, Ackett, & Simmons, 2002) and well-connected to sustainability issues (Summers, Childs, & Corney, 2005). The tendency to incorporate more socio-scientific issues in science curricula is common world- wide (Levinson, 2010; Prain, 2012), but this shift is not undisputed. There are ‘gatekeepers’ in the science education community who are significantly troubled by this and fear that the amount of core science content will decrease (Tytler, 2012). SSI are though entering science education more generally (Robottom, 2012).

Available from: 2016-09-01 Created: 2016-09-01 Last updated: 2016-12-20Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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