A computer assisted study of science education in Australian primary schools

  • Latimer Allen

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    It is a well documented fact that primary teachers as a group are quite lacking in their enthusiasm for science, a subject of constant concern for those committed to its role as a component of the primary school curriculum. In order to test the effects of various treatments on groups of teachers and pre-service trainees, a 21 item questionnaire was developed to measure attitudes towards science in the primary school curriculum, towards improving expertise in the area, and in the traditional “scientific attitudes and values”. A new group of pre-service students provided one group and the iii pilot population, students in their final semester of a Diploma in Teaching programme another group, and teachers attending residential schools for UG2 conversion and PGl teacher education courses provided several other groups based on teaching location. Items were selected from the pilot instrument on their ability to discriminate between high scoring and low scoring groups measured with the Mann-Whitney U test. Analyses in the main survey between groups, were carried out using Mann-Whitney U test and Kruskal-Wallis one way analysis of variance, and between items, using Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-ranks test. All manipulation and analysis of data was carried out with the assistance of two computer programs, written in PASCAL by the author specifically for this study - one for item analysis, the other, a statistical package for analysing the main survey data. Findings include support for prediction in the literature that change in education is a slow process, demanding ongoing support by the system and teacher education institutions, for teachers committed to the change. Also, the value of computer support, and advantages of tailoring a statistical package to the study, rather than the study to analyses readily accessible, are clearly demonstrated.
    Date of Award1982
    Original languageEnglish

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