Promoting the achievement of girls in GCSE science.

MORTON, Kevin Charles. (1995). Promoting the achievement of girls in GCSE science. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

This study, designed to challenge the under-representation and limited attainment of girls in the physical sciences in an 11-16 comprehensive school, was suggested by research into attitude formation by Kelly et al in the early 1980s. Balanced science, in removing opportunities for girls to opt out of the physical sciences, made it essential to identify those factors which were adversely affecting girls' attitudes towards science.Preliminary research tasks investigated stereotypical attitudes towards science activities and the school curriculum amongst students and their parents. Additional research probed students' perceptions of their ability in science and the relevance of science subjects. Students' attitudes towards science and science teaching were investigated in relation to their option and career choices. These data influenced the choice of MEG Coordinated Science (The Suffolk Development) as the GCSE balanced science course for the school.The subsequent programme of action research included a series of small-scale investigations, involving both monitoring and evaluation, designed to develop the Suffolk scheme and satisfy the research aims. Student attitudes towards teaching methods and the Suffolk materials were amongst those areas investigated. After evaluation the findings were channelled into the action research spiral to integrate teaching methods and curriculum development thereby promoting the attitudes and achievement of the girls.Improvements in attainment by all students, particularly the girls, were illustrated by increasing GCSE success. Although the traditional pattern of boys' superiority within the physical sciences was markedly reduced the research demonstrated that it is possible to improve the attainment of girls within GCSE science without discriminating against boys.Student opinion and the GCSE data suggested that the girls' achievements could be partially explained by the coursework-led assessment which suited the girls' preferred methods of working. The research concluded with an investigation of the role of coursework within GCSE science assessment and considered the possible effects of the reduction of emphasis on coursework in the GCSE structure imposed for the 1994 examinations. This was identified as an area where further research is necessary.Continuing GCSE success reinforced the view that the skills and strategies developed by the department during the research have been influential in promoting positive attitudes and creating an environment where students, particularly girls, can achieve success in science. These skills include developing teaching contexts to match student interest, managing coursework tasks to promote student involvement and attainment and encouraging students to recognise and develop their individual abilities.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 1995.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:21
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2018 17:21
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20089

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