Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 9, Issue 1, Article 4 (June, 2008)
The effect of scientific process skills education on students’ scientific creativity, science attitudes and academic achievements

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Data Collection Tools

“Combination of Force and Motion-the Energy” Chapter Achievement Scale

While developing the scale, chapter analysis was performed, and targets and behaviours were determined according to the science course curriculum. The science course book resources were reviewed, and a multiple-choice scale containing 45 questions was prepared. Experts were consulted about the prepared questions, and after performing the necessary corrections and arrangement of the questions, the scale was applied on 192 randomly selected students reading at 8th grade level in four different elementary schools.

After the application, the discrimination indices, difficulty of the items, and the reliability coefficient of the scale were calculated. At the end of the calculations, the questions having a discrimination index below 0.20 were removed from the scale. The chapter achievement scale containing 22 multiple-choice items was created. The Reliability Coefficient (KR–20) of the achieved scale was 0.71.

The Attitude Scale Towards Science Course

In order to develop a scale related to the attitude towards the science course, the field literature was reviewed (Demirci, 2004; Baser, 1996; Chen, 2001; Geban et al., 1994), and then a scale containing 34 items was created. The scale was developed according to the five-point Likert type grading system, and “exactly agree”, “agree”, “undecided”, “disagree”, and “totally disagree” choices were used for the expression of each attitude. Three lecturers and two science teacher provided the content validity of the scale. After the scale was arranged according to the ideas of the experts, it was applied randomly on 200 students reading at 8th grade of four different elementary schools.

The reliability coefficient of the attitude scale towards the science course was calculated as α=0.88. And it became α=0.90 after removing the items whose total item correlation was below 0.30.

Scientific Creativity (SC) Scale

The items at the scientific creativity scale measure characteristics such as uncommon usages, finding the problem, product development, scientific imagination, problem solving, performing scientific experiments, and product design. Scoring rules for continuity, flexibility, and originality were evaluated.

Hu and Adey originally developed the scale (2002). The Cronbach's alpha coefficient for the inner consistency was 0.893and the result of the reliability study done with 160 students in England. The reliability between the scores ranged between 0.793 and 0.913, and the average was 0.875. Principal components factor analysis was performed for the data obtained from the scale, and the scale was founded as a one-factor model. This showed the good structure validity of the scale. For the validity, the researchers consulted expert science education researchers and science teachers,and the ideas in favour of the scale were generally high.

The Scientific Creativity Scale developed by Hu and Adey (2002) was translated into Turkish, and the items inadaptable to Turkish culture were replaced. A scale containing 6 items was prepared. The scale items were evaluated for continuity, flexibility, and originality that determine scientific creativity levels. The pilot study of the scale was applied randomly on 79 students reading at 7th grade of three different elementary schools in different socioeconomical level.

In order to determine the reliability of the scale applied, two scientists separately evaluated the answers given by the students. Additionally, the Pearson (product-moment correlation) correlation coefficient was found, and the correlation among the scale items were examined (r=0.94). The correlation coefficient between 0.70–1.00 shows that there was a high level correlation (Charles, 1998). In order to determine the face validity, the scale was examined by 15 scientists and science teachers. All of the experts expressed a positive opinion proving that the scale had high face validity.

Preparation of the Worksheets Used at the Application

Since the students sampled were in the secondary stage of their education, the aim was to gain high level of scientific process skills. The SPS parallel with this purpose are :

1. Defining The Problem

2. Hypothesizing/ Estimating

3. Determining The Variables

4. Fair testing

5. Collecting Data

A) Observation

B) Measuring

6. Presenting Data

A) Table drawing

B) Graph drawing

7. Explaining The Results

First, researchers tried to comprehend what skills are to the experimental group by using the activities out of the subject of the lesson for two weeks, and then worksheets were prepared to correlate with the chapter, and finally these skills were reinforced. The examples given on the work sheets prepared for teaching SPS contained examples related to science subjects and examples not containing science content from daily life so that the students could see that they could also use these skills with other problems encountered in their daily lives.

Students’ work sheets regarding the gains defined in Science Education Program (MNE, 2000) for the chapter “Combination of Force and Motion- The Energy”, 28 worksheets containing each gain and also directed to gain (confusing) SPS were prepared. The first 9 worksheets contained closed-ended scientific process steps, the next 9 were prepared as semi open-ended, and the final 10 worksheets were open-ended to contain SPS only where the problem sentence was given (App).

Performing The Application

During the application, the researcher participated in the experimental and control groups as an observer, and co-instructed the lecture with the teacher when he/she considered it necessary. Theallocated time for the chapter is 12 weeks. The first half of this time is allocated for the force and motion subject, and the second half is allocated for the work-energy, simple machines subject. Therefore, in the first half, activities were done by giving closed-ended and semi open-ended work sheets and tests related to SPS; and in the second half, activities were done by using open-ended worksheets and tests to measure and improve the scientific process skills of the students. The brainstorm and question-answer methods were also used during the lecture. The chapter was taught to the control group using the traditional method. In the same semester, the teacher taught both the experimental group and the control group.

The closed-ended, semi open-ended and open-ended worksheets and tests developed during the application were given to the students. The application was done in a three month period as determined by the annual plan. As much as possible, an environment where the students could study freely and use their creativity was encouraged.

After a two-week training on the definition and usage of SPS, “The combination of Force and Motion – Energy” Chapter was taughtusing the prepared worksheets. Groups worked together to compleate the first 9 and second 9 worksheets. Four groups containing six people in each group were generated in accordance with the request of the students. During the teaching done involving the first 9 closed-ended work sheets, the worksheets were read together by the students, and they tried to hypothesize or estimate by brainstorming. Then, in groups, they tried to determine the variables by estimating or making hypotheses given on the worksheet. Finally, students completed the worksheets by reading the experiment design with their group members and they determined the necessary materials needed. For the next 9 semi openended worksheets, some parts wereleft blank, and the students were to complete this part by working together in a group. In the meantime, the teacher conducted the students’ lesson. During the final 10 worksheets, the students individually filled out the parts related to the given problem sentence on the work sheets. Again, here, the teacher conducted the students’ lesson. During the previous lecture, the next taught subject title was given to the students, and they were to come to the lecture informed about this subject. Each student designed his/her experiment by means of his/her foreknowledge and they asked for help from their friends when they had a problem during the application of the experiment.

In the control group, the instructions were given without using any teaching material. The lecture was conducted by the teaching asking introductory questions to introduce the subject at the beginning of the lecture, and ended with the teacher solving example problems related to the subject. This method was teacher centered.


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