Primary Connections: Stage 3: Interim research and evaluation report 15: Impact of Primary Connections on students’ science processes, literacies of science and attitudes towards science
Australian Academy of Science
Education and Arts
Education, Fogarty Learning Centre
A total of 1467 students in Years 3-7 were recruited from 26 government schools in Western Australia and Queensland to participate in the testing program which was conducted in Term 4 of 2007. Students were recruited from classes which had studied science using Primary Connections and from comparison classes which had studied science using other programs. Primary Connections classes and comparison classes were matched on the socioeconomic index levels of the schools. Most of the Primary Connections classes had completed two units during the year and there was no assumption of fidelity of implementation of the Primary Connections teaching and learning model. Comparison classes were recruited from teachers who volunteered to participate in the evaluation and taught science using other programs. These classes formed a legitimate group against which the performance of Primary Connections classes could be compared. Previous research demonstrated that students achieve strong conceptual growth in Primary Connections classes (Hackling, Peers & Prain, 2007). This study has shown that students in Primary Connections classes achieve higher mean scores on literacies of science, processes of science and on some aspects of attitudes to school science. These are all important components of scientific literacy which is the main purpose of primary science education in Australian schools (Goodrum et al., 2001). Significantly, this study has shown that students from Primary Connections classes have outperformed students from comparison classes on those aspects of achievement that the latest science education literature indicates count as learning in science.