Context or Culture: Can Timss and Pisa Teach Us About What Determines Educational Achievement in Science?

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Abstract

Most mainstream researchers in science education are weak in their inclusion of the wider educational, personal and social contexts in which their studies have been conducted. The TIMSS and PISA projects, on the other hand, have both had the status and resources to include a great deal of data about these wider contexts, nationally and cross-nationally. The success and failure of these projects in relation to elucidating strong relations between contextual constructs and science achievement is considered. The methodological choices of these cross national studies and the theoretical perspective they have adopted for these interactions are critically appraised. An alternative approach is then explored