New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Understanding the Impact of Teaching Strategies, Engagement and Interest in Science: An Analysis of the English PISA Cohort

Mary Oliver, University of Nottingham (United Kingdom)

Mike Adkins, University of Nottingham (United Kingdom)

John Jerrim, University of Nottingham (United Kingdom)


There has been considerable interest in making use of Inquiry-based learning within science classrooms to promote deeper learning, building scientific skills and applying scientific knowledge to real-world inquiries. We address the effect of different teaching strategies in science classrooms and explore the student/school/system level interactions, particularly with respect to science subject interest, engagement and attainment using a unique dataset which combines the PISA 2015 and the English National Pupil Database (NPD), linked for the first time to provide insight into the PISA and public examinations (GCSE) taken six months later by students in England. PISA defines and uses a score as a measure of scientific literacy. A key finding from the linked PISA-NPD is that there is little evidence that more frequent use of inquiry-based approaches is associated with students making more progress in science at school. We compare the instructional strategies of inquiry based (IBTEACH), teacher-directed (TDTEACH) and adaptive teaching (ADINST) and the associations with scientific literacy (achievement). Data show that where students report high levels of inquiry in their classrooms, their levels of scientific literacy were lower. This patterning from benchmark analysis is also observed in other countries. These analyses show a strong positive relationship between student reports of the frequency of teacher-directed and adaptive teaching instruction and scientific literacy. We then disaggregated the composite variable IBTEACH to show that different items comprising inquiry-based teaching are differentially associated with measures of scientific literacy.

Keywords: PISA, achievement, engagement, teaching approaches;

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