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Nationella prov i biologi, fysik och kemi - hur påverkas undervisningen?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education. (SMED)
Uppsala University, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Curriculum Studies. (SMED)
2010 (Swedish)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

National tests in biology, physics and chemistry: potential influence on teachers’ teaching practices

National tests in biology, physics and chemistry are now introduced in year 9 in Swedish comprehensive school. These tests aim at supporting teaching, learning and development of school practice in direction towards the goals in national curriculum. The introduction of national tests is used by the government in order to raise the standards, make more students reach the goals by strengthening the follow-up of student knowledge and at the same time create a more equal and fair assessment and grading of students. This is described as necessary since Swedish students’ results are cut back in national measurements and they achieve lower scores relatively to students in other comparable countries (e.g. TIMSS). We propose a project that will investigate if and in which way the introduction of national tests in science education influence teachers’ opinions of what is ‘good’ education in science and how this effects teachers’ instruction and assessment of students. This paper will be devided in two parts. The first part present an outline for a research project and the second part present the results of a pilot study with the aim to study how two focus groups of teachers have experienced the try-outs of national tests in 2009. The outlined project would firstly conduct a survey identifying different teaching traditions, or selective traditions, among the Swedish teachers. This is done by constructing a questionnaire which aims at identifying teachers teaching practice according to teaching goals, choice of content and methods used in the classroom. Secondly, elected teachers from different teaching traditions will be interviewed and observed when teaching. Analyses from the material will be made with the concept of ‘curriculum emphases’ to identify what is considered to be important knowledge. Analyses of the actual national tests will be carried out using the same tools. The results of the investigations will be discussed in relation to research on ‘scientific literacy’, which relates to socioscientific issues. This project will make it possible to identify potential systematic differences in teachers’ opinions and practice between teachers belonging to different teaching traditions regarding the effects of national tests. In the pilot study carried out during autumn 2009, groups of teachers in two different schools were given the task to discuss their experiences from performing try-out national tests in physics, chemistry or biology. They were asked questions about if and how they imagined theirs and others teaching would be affected by the introduction of national tests and if the content of instruction would change as a consequence. Preliminary results show that the group of teachers that preformed the chemistry test, identified everyday knowledge as privileged. These teachers used textbooks in their teaching, which according to them do not use this emphasis, they expressed the students were insufficiently prepared. The teachers made the prediction that the textbooks will probably change as a consequence. The teachers who have carried out the physics test expressed that the test helped them to see what had been missing in their teaching, according to both content and teaching methods. They also state that the national tests might function as a model when constructing questions concerning higher order thinking (MVG). The preliminary results from the pilot study will provide a background to find relevant and precise questions to a future survey, give insight into different positions teachers may take on and point to which changes are possible.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Research subject
Curriculum Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-130601OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-130601DiVA: diva2:349962
NFPF (Nordisk förening för pedagogisk forskning)
Available from: 2010-09-09 Created: 2010-09-09 Last updated: 2010-09-22Bibliographically approved

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Lidar, MalenaLundqvist, Eva
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Department of EducationDepartment of Curriculum Studies

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