SCIENTIFIC REASONING DEVELOPMENT WITHIN INFORMAL FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT USE IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL PHYSICAL SCIENCE LESSONSJournal: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF RESEARCH -GRANTHAALAYAH (Vol.7, No. 6)
Publication Date: 2019-06-30
Authors : Mzenzi S. Masuku Benson B. Simelane;
Page : 190-204
Keywords : Scientific Reasoning; Oral Questioning; Formative Assessment; Physical Science.;
Scientific reasoning, though not explicitly taught in classrooms, is promoted as a major goal for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education at all levels, worldwide. Literature also indicates that the time spent by learners explaining and justifying their ideas strongly correlates with learning improvement. In Swaziland, however, reports from school science inspectors and school leaving examiners point to weak evidence of scientific reasoning skills from school-based and high-stake examinations. This contradicts the main education goal at this level – producing learners who can use science phenomena awareness for reasoning through diverse life contexts. The study was conceived within the interplay between cognitive and sociocultural theories of constructivism. It focuses on how senior secondary school Physical Science teachers use informal formative assessment (IFA), and how the assessments so used support scientific reasoning. Through the qualitative inquiry approach a multiple case study design was used where four teachers in the Manzini Region were purposively sampled and their lessons observed. The data were then analysed through content analysis and Furtak, Harding, Beinbrech, Shavelson, and Shemwell (2008)'s analytical framework. The study revealed that teachers initiated learner-centred dialogues to address misconceptions and ask further clarification questions. Practical work and contingency based oral questions generated a reach variety of scientific reasoning levels while cases where teachers treated none response moments by supplying answers generated the least reasoning levels. All in all, by diligently using IFA to support learning, teachers realised opportunities for assisting learners migrate from concrete operational to formal thinking levels.
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