Inquiry Science Teaching in Portugal and Some Other Countries as Measured by PISA 2006

Type Journal Article - Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences
Title Inquiry Science Teaching in Portugal and Some Other Countries as Measured by PISA 2006
Volume 12
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Page numbers 255-262
Constructivism and social development theories of learning and teaching emphasize students centered approaches. Inquiry is one of these approaches. Many authors maintain that inquiry leads to better student performance in science. Others limit the importance of inquiry to the more talented students; still others relate negative effects of inquiry approaches based on the absence of pre-requisites for such a demanding strategy. What does PISA 2006 show in terms of achievement in science and the use of inquiry approaches? The study analyses the impact, on achievement, of the four clusters of teaching and learning strategies, as defined by PISA 2006, which are the use of applications and models, hands-on-activities, interaction, and student investigations The study also compares the impact in Spain, France, United Kingdom, Turkey, USA, Greece and Finland. A secondary analysis using a hierarchical linear model (HLM) was performed to answer our research questions. Within the included countries, students reporting higher frequency of student investigations in science teaching and learning, tend, on average, to have lower achievement in science. On the other hand, within these countries, students who report higher frequencies of teacher emphasis on use of applications in the science classroom tend to have, on average, higher PISA 2006 science achievement scores. At first glance, the findings imply that we cannot expect better performance based on high-level use of student investigations.

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