Ideal pictures and actual perspectives of junior secondary school science: comparisons drawn from Australian students in an astronomy education programme
B & S Publications
Place of Publication
Edith Cowan Institute of Education Research
Background: This research investigates the impact of a junior secondary astronomy education programme undertaken in four Australian educational jurisdictions. Purpose: Junior secondary students’ perceptions of the science they experience at School are examined both before, during and after their engagement with a science programme targeting astronomy. Programme description: The programme involved using remotely controlled telescopes over the Internet. Sample: Non-randomised opportunity sampling was employed to recruit participants. Schools were drawn from both public (16) and private (14) sectors. Participants were 1427 students comprising 769 Year 7, 439 Year 8 and 219 Year 9. Design and methods: A concurrent nested mixed method approach was used to investigate the impact of the programme on students’ perceptions of science at high school. Data were collected using a pre/post questionnaire coupled with semi-structured interviews with a sample of participants. Results: Students exhibited negative perceptions of science at school prior to the commencement of the programme. Programme implementation covaried with highly significant changes in students’ perceptions of science. Conclusions: The research highlights the importance of the teacher’s role and the way in which school science is implemented as being crucial contributors to the movement of students’ perceptions.