Prioritizing Scientific Discourse by Adult Learners: An Analysis of Student Writing Using Bloom’s Taxonomy

By Wanja Gitari and Darlee Gerrard.

Published by The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 5, 2017 $US5.00

This article examines the construction of scientific ideas by later entry learners (LELs) in a pre-university program at a university in Ontario, Canada, where the LELs were enrolled in a general science course. The LELs, the majority of whom are disadvantaged with respect to science education and are unlikely to consider a career in the field of science, re-engage with science learning after considerable absence from formal schooling. The science writing for twenty-two students was analyzed using Bloom’s taxonomy, focusing on units of meaning in the problem descriptions and matching exploration questions (vignettes). Over 50 percent of the units of meaning correspond to the Remember and Understand categories of the taxonomy. The majority of the vignettes demonstrate low-order thinking skills (LOTS), signaling the need for the course instructor to engage LEL students with high-order thinking discourse in the science course in order for them to demonstrate high-order thinking skills (HOTS).

Keywords: Science Education, Bloom’s Taxonomy, Disadvantaged Students, Thinking Skills, Pedagogy, Pre-university Program

The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp.15-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 5, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 389.493KB)).

Dr. Wanja Gitari

Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Darlee Gerrard

PhDCandidate, Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and, Learning, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada