Research in Science Education

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 403–418

An Examination of the Change of the Junior Secondary School Chemistry Curriculum in the P. R. China: In the View of Scientific Literacy


DOI: 10.1007/s11165-006-9012-y

Cite this article as:
Wei, B. & Thomas, G.P. Res Sci Educ (2006) 36: 403. doi:10.1007/s11165-006-9012-y


This paper investigated the change of the Junior Secondary School Chemistry Curriculum (JSSCC) in the P. R. China over the period from 1978 to 2001. Document analysis was employed as the research method and data were collected from various versions of teaching syllabi, textbooks, and teachers' reference books published during this period. The changes of the purposes and content of the JSSCC were traced in the view of scientific literacy, which incorporates both subject matter and companion meanings in the light of the concept of ‘curriculum emphases.’ It was found that subject matter had been increasingly enlarged in its breadth but its requirements gradually decreased while companion meanings at different levels of this curriculum had been increasingly added from 1978 to 2001. On the basis of these findings it was concluded that the JSSCC had experienced a transition from being more elite to more future citizenry oriented during the period under study. Two implications of this study for science curriculum research were discussed.

Key words

chemistry curriculum companion meanings curriculum change curriculum emphases science curriculum scientific literacy 

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of MacauMacauPeople's Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics, Science, Social Sciences and TechnologyThe Hong Kong Institute of EducationHong KongPeople's Republic of China

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