Academic rigour in science assessment tasks
Lincoln, Mary Elizabeth (2010) Academic rigour in science assessment tasks. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.
The critical problem of student disengagement and underachievement in the middle years of schooling (Years 4 . 9) has focussed attention on the quality of educational programs in schools, in Australia and elsewhere. The loss of enthusiasm for science in the middle years is particularly problematic given the growing demand for science professionals. Reshaping middle years programs has included an emphasis on integrating Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and improving assessment practices to engage students in higher cognitive processes and enhance academic rigour. Understanding the nature of academic rigour and how to embed it in students. science assessment tasks that incorporate the use of ICTs could enable teachers to optimise the quality of the learning environment. However, academic rigour is not clearly described or defined in the literature and there is little empirical evidence upon which researchers and teachers could draw to enhance understandings. This study used a collective case study design to explore teachers' understandings of academic rigour within science assessment tasks. The research design is based on a conceptual framework that is underpinned by socio-cultural theory. Three methods were used to collect data from six middle years teachers and their students. These methods were a survey, focus group discussion with teachers and a group of students and individual semi-structured interviews with teachers. Findings of the case study revealed six criteria of academic rigour, namely, higher order thinking, alignment, building on prior knowledge, scaffolding, knowledge construction and creativity. Results showed that the middle years teachers held rich understandings of academic rigour that led to effective utilisation of ICTs in science assessment tasks. Findings also indicated that teachers could further enhance their understandings of academic rigour in some aspects of each of the criteria. In particular, this study found that academic rigour could have been further optimised by: promoting more thoughtful discourse and interaction to foster higher order thinking; increasing alignment between curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment, and students. prior knowledge; placing greater emphasis on identifying, activating and building on prior knowledge; better differentiating the level of scaffolding provided and applying it more judiciously; fostering creativity throughout tasks; enhancing teachers‟ content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, and providing more in-depth coverage of fewer topics to support knowledge construction. Key contributions of this study are a definition and a model which clarify the nature of academic rigour.
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|Item Type:||QUT Thesis (PhD)|
|Supervisor:||Diezmann, Carmel, Exley, Beryl, & Watters, James|
|Keywords:||Academic rigour, academic tasks, assessment tasks, alignment, assessment for learning, case study, creativity, higher order thinking, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), intellectual challenge, knowledge construction, middle years of schooling, prior knowledge, scaffolding, science, socio-cultural theory, student engagement, teachers' understandings|
|Divisions:||Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
|Institution:||Queensland University of Technology|
|Deposited On:||21 Jul 2010 04:44|
|Last Modified:||28 Oct 2011 19:56|
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