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USING INTERNATIONAL STUDY SERIES AND META-ANALYTIC RESEARCH SYNTHESES TO SCOPE PEDAGOGICAL DEVELOPMENT AIMED AT IMPROVING STUDENT ATTITUDE AND ACHIEVEMENT IN SCHOOL MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE

  • Kenneth Ruthven
Article

ABSTRACT

Taking lower-secondary schooling within the English educational system as an example, this paper illustrates the contribution of two bodies of international scholarship to the scoping of research-based pedagogical development aimed at improving student attitude and achievement in science and mathematics. After sketching the English context of systemic reform, the paper uses findings from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) series to illuminate changes in performance, analysed within a framework of cross-system and between-subject comparison. Contrary to the optimistic picture from national assessment, the TIMSS findings suggest that systemic reform has produced fundamental gains only in student achievement in mathematics, and serious declines in student attitude towards both mathematics and science. Prompted by more favourable patterns elsewhere, the paper then triangulates the findings of recent meta-analytic research syntheses to identify promising lines of pedagogical development. Despite important differences in the conceptual frameworks and analytic methods of these syntheses, reasonably robust conclusions can be drawn about the effectiveness of four teaching components: domain-specific inquiry for student achievement in both subjects, student attitude in science, and learning processes in mathematics; cooperative group work for learning and attitude in science; contextual orientation for achievement in science; and active teaching for achievement in mathematics. Equally, discrepancies between findings or insufficiencies of evidence highlight a number of impacts particularly deserving deeper analysis or further investigation: cooperative group work on achievement outcomes, differing forms of learning assessment on both attitude and achievement outcomes, contextual orientation on outcomes in mathematics, and active teaching on outcomes in science.

KEY WORDS

effective teaching England international comparisons instructional improvement mathematics teaching research reviews science teaching teaching methods TIMSS 

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Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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