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The measurement of KS3 and KS4 students’ attitudes towards chemistry and science lessons and the identification of influencing factors

The measurement of KS3 and KS4 students’ attitudes towards chemistry and science lessons and the identification of influencing factors
The measurement of KS3 and KS4 students’ attitudes towards chemistry and science lessons and the identification of influencing factors
Researchers in a number of countries have observed a trend of declining student interest and enthusiasm for science and chemistry lessons as they progress through education. The research sought to investigate the attitudes of students in Key Stages 3 and 4 (ages 11-16) towards science and chemistry lessons, and to identify the factors that contribute towards negative attitudes through both qualitative and quantitative exploration.

A preliminary qualitative research phase involved the participation of 69 students from Years 7-11 in focus groups, in which they identified 11 key factors that correlated with a negative attitude towards science and chemistry lessons. An existing attitudinal scale (Attitudes towards Chemistry Lessons scale, (Cheung, 2009)) was modified by the addition of qualitative questions designed to prompt respondents into identifying and qualitatively describing the reasons behind their answers, and utilised as an online survey.

The modified survey (ATCSLS) was taken by a total of 1654 students from a mixture of fee paying and non-fee paying schools in the UK, and confirmatory factor analysis validated the existence of a good fit between the scale and the quantitative data. The quantitative results of the modified ATLSCL showed that students in Year 7 held the most favourable attitudes towards science and chemistry lessons, and that there were no statistically significant differences between the attitudes of male and female students. However, as the age of the students increased, the attitudes of female students towards both science and chemistry lessons dropped significantly compared with their male counterparts along with a general decrease in attitudes. Younger students also had a more positive attitude towards chemistry theory lessons than older students, whilst older students held more positive attitudes towards chemistry practical work. Female chemistry students indicated that they would be more engaged with chemistry lessons if the explanations of key topics were clearer, whereas male students preferred a more interactive learning style. The findings should be employed by practitioners and researchers to develop effective teaching styles to ensure the development of positive attitudes towards science and chemistry lessons in schools.
Koramoah, Rachel
14c6b9a0-eaab-4457-8688-7b6553411667
Koramoah, Rachel
14c6b9a0-eaab-4457-8688-7b6553411667
Read, David
64479ab2-6154-4420-851d-d8d000906a34

(2016) The measurement of KS3 and KS4 students’ attitudes towards chemistry and science lessons and the identification of influencing factors. University of Southampton, Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Masters Thesis, 182pp.

Record type: Thesis (Masters)

Abstract

Researchers in a number of countries have observed a trend of declining student interest and enthusiasm for science and chemistry lessons as they progress through education. The research sought to investigate the attitudes of students in Key Stages 3 and 4 (ages 11-16) towards science and chemistry lessons, and to identify the factors that contribute towards negative attitudes through both qualitative and quantitative exploration.

A preliminary qualitative research phase involved the participation of 69 students from Years 7-11 in focus groups, in which they identified 11 key factors that correlated with a negative attitude towards science and chemistry lessons. An existing attitudinal scale (Attitudes towards Chemistry Lessons scale, (Cheung, 2009)) was modified by the addition of qualitative questions designed to prompt respondents into identifying and qualitatively describing the reasons behind their answers, and utilised as an online survey.

The modified survey (ATCSLS) was taken by a total of 1654 students from a mixture of fee paying and non-fee paying schools in the UK, and confirmatory factor analysis validated the existence of a good fit between the scale and the quantitative data. The quantitative results of the modified ATLSCL showed that students in Year 7 held the most favourable attitudes towards science and chemistry lessons, and that there were no statistically significant differences between the attitudes of male and female students. However, as the age of the students increased, the attitudes of female students towards both science and chemistry lessons dropped significantly compared with their male counterparts along with a general decrease in attitudes. Younger students also had a more positive attitude towards chemistry theory lessons than older students, whilst older students held more positive attitudes towards chemistry practical work. Female chemistry students indicated that they would be more engaged with chemistry lessons if the explanations of key topics were clearer, whereas male students preferred a more interactive learning style. The findings should be employed by practitioners and researchers to develop effective teaching styles to ensure the development of positive attitudes towards science and chemistry lessons in schools.

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More information

Published date: February 2016
Organisations: University of Southampton, Chemistry

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 397991
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/397991
PURE UUID: 55fd450f-56af-4dbb-9ade-435ac84c4608
ORCID for David Read: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0575-3816

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 10 Feb 2017 12:03
Last modified: 23 Jun 2019 04:01

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Contributors

Author: Rachel Koramoah
Thesis advisor: David Read ORCID iD

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