Promoting scientific literacy of secondary science students
Improving secondary school science students’ decision making
This international project, led by UWA professor Vaille Dawson, uses case study methodology to investigate the use of socioscientific issues (SSI) to promote critical thinking in Year 7 to 10 classes in schools in disadvantaged areas. Through the study, science teachers participate in targeted one-on-one professional development sessions with researchers about scientific literacy, SSI and argumentation.
Findings of these sessions draw upon information such as:
- classroom observations
- teacher interviews
- pre- and post-tests of argumentation
- content knowledge
These findings provide insight into the challenges of teaching and measuring critical thinking skills. This helps emphasise the importance of scaffolding, literacy support, a collaborative classroom environment and quality teacher-led probing in promoting scientific literacy in students.
Funding for this project has come from a 2016 UWA Research Collaboration Grant, a 2013-2015 Australian Research Council Discovery Grant, and a 2007 Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training Australian School Innovation in Science, Technology and Mathematics Funding Grant.