Is a Direct Approach to Student-level Engagement Factors the Crucial Missing Link in Science Education Reform? An International Perspective with New Zealand as a Case in Point

By W. Marc Jackman and Michael A. R. Townsend.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Science reform initiatives in the United States of America, China, Japan, England, Europe and developing countries like Trinidad & Tobago have been focused primarily on issues related to curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, and teacher training, retraining and professional development as well as resources. In general, these programmes have not yielded expected results, especially for minority and disadvantaged student populations. Notwithstanding the importance of the content and pedagogical factors just mentioned, research reveals that student-level factors are usually assessed but are never addressed directly. Using research reports for these countries and New Zealand as reported in the TIMSS 2002/2003 study as well as information from PISA studies, this paper identifies significant student-level related factors such as academic self-efficacy, academic task-value, interest in science, and motivation orientations that are related to science achievement outcomes. Thus identified, an argument is advanced for the inclusion of these student-level factors in future science reform initiatives.

Keywords: Science Education Reform, Motivation, Self-Efficacy, Academic Task-Value, Interest & Achievement

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp.287-298. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.271MB).

Dr. W. Marc Jackman

Assistant Professor, School for Studies in Learning, Cognition & Education, University of Trinidad & Tobago, Valsayn Campus, Curepe, Trinidad and Tobago

Dr. W. Marc Jackman is an Assistant Professor at the University of Trinidad & Tobago. He lectures and coordinates psychology courses for the B.ed programme of the university. These courses included Educational Psychology, Human Development and Adolescent Psychology. He earned His PhD, as a Commonwealth scholar, from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. His research interests include achievement motivation, self-regulated learning and enhancing achievement outcomes and understanding in science.

Prof. Michael A. R. Townsend

Professor of Educational Psychology, School of Education at Albany, Massey University College of Education, Massey University, Northshore, Auckland, New Zealand

Professor Townsend has teaching and research interests in educational psychology. Dr. Townsend is interested in field of educational psychology, with particular interest in: learning in classrooms, reading comprehension, children’s friendships, motivation, gifted and talented, special education and sport psychology.

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