• Huey-Por Chang
  • Chin-Chang ChenEmail author
  • Gwo-Jen Guo
  • Yeong-Jin Cheng
  • Chen-Yung Lin
  • Tsung-Hau Jen
Open Access


The objective of this study was to develop an instrument to measure school students’ competence in learning science as part of a large research project in Taiwan. The instrument consisted of 29 self-report, Likert-type items divided into 2 scales: Competence in Scientific Inquiry and Competence in Communication. The Competence in Scientific Inquiry scale contained 4 subscales: presenting questions and hypothesis, planning, experimenting and data gathering, and data analyzing, interpreting, and concluding. The Competence in Communication scale contained 4 subscales: expressing, evaluating, responding, and negotiating. Students were recruited randomly from primary, junior, and senior high schools in different regions of Taiwan to validate the instrument and establish its reliability and validity. The results of the analyses indicate that the instrument, scales, and subscales have reasonable internal consistency; that the theoretical structure was supported by empirical data; and that the subscales are homogeneous. These results indicate that it is an appropriate tool for measuring students’ competence in learning science. Implications and suggestions for further studies are included.


communication competence scale inquiry learning science 


  1. Abell, S. K., Anderson, G. & Chezem, J. (2000). Science as argument and explanation: Exploring concepts of sound in third grade. In J. Minstrell & E. H. van Zee (Eds.), Inquiring into inquiry learning and teaching in science (pp. 65–79). Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.Google Scholar
  2. American Association for the Advancement of Science (1993). Benchmarks for science literacy: Project 2061. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Arbuckle, J. L. & Wothke, W. (1999). Amos 4.0 user guide. Chicago: SmallWaters Corporation.Google Scholar
  4. Bagozzi, R. P. & Yi, Y. (1988). On the evaluation of structural equation models. Journal of the Academy Marketing Science, 16(1), 74–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Campbell, B., Kaunda, L., Allie, S., Buffler, A. & Lubben, F. (2000). The communication of laboratory investigations by university entrants. Journal of Research in Science Teaching., 37(8), 839–853.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Crawford, B. A. (2000). Embracing the essence of inquiry: New roles for science teachers. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37(9), 916–937.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Driver, R., Newton, P. & Osborne, J. (2000). Establishing the norms of scientific argumentation in classrooms. Science & Education, 84(3), 287–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hair, J. F., Jr., Anderson, R. E., Tatham, R. L. & Black, W. C. (1998). Multivariate data analysis (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  9. Hinrichsen, J. & Jarrett, D. (1999). Science inquiry for the classroom. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.Google Scholar
  10. Huang, H. J. (2006). Listening to the language of constructing knowledge. International Journal of Science and Math Education, 4(3), 391–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jarrett, D. (1997). Inquiry strategies for science and mathematics learning. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.Google Scholar
  12. Jenkins, E. W. (1999). School science, citizenship and the public understanding of science. International Journal of Science Education, 21(7), 703–710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Krajcik, J. S. & Sutherland, L. M. (2010). Supporting students in developing literacy in science. Science, 328(5987), 456–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. National Science Teachers Association (2004). NSTA position statement: Scientific inquiry. Arlington, VA: Author.Google Scholar
  15. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (2005). The definition and selection of key competencies: Executive summary. Paris, France: Author.Google Scholar
  16. Osborne, J. (2010). Arguing to learn in science: The role of collaborative, critical discourse [Special Issue]. Science, 328(5977), 463–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Schifter, D. (1996). What’s happening in math class? Envisioning new practices through teacher narratives (Vol. 1). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  18. Selby, C. C. (2006). What makes it science?: A modern look at scientific inquiry. Journal of College Science Teaching, 35(7), 8–11.Google Scholar
  19. Simpson, D. (1997). Collaborative conversations. Science Teacher, 64(7), 40–43.Google Scholar
  20. Stamovlasis, D., Dimos, A. & Tsaparlis, G. (2005). A study of group interaction processes in learning lower secondary physics. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 43(6), 556–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Taiwan Ministry of Education (2006). Grade 1–9 curriculum of junior high and primary school: Science and technology. Taipei, Taiwan: Author.Google Scholar
  22. United States National Research Council (1996). The national science education standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  23. United States National Research Council (2000). Inquiry and the national science education standards: A guide for teaching and learning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  24. van den Brock, P. (2010). Using texts in science education: Cognitive processes and knowledge representation. Science, 328(5977), 453–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. van Ornum, B., Dunlap, L. L. & Shore, M. F. (2008). Psychological testing across the lifespan. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  26. Verderber, R. F. & Verderber, K. S. (1995). Inter-ACT: Using interpersonal communication skills. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  27. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Webb, P. (2010). Science education and literacy: Imperatives for the developed and developing world [Special Issue]. Science, 328(5977), 448–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Wood, T. (1999). Creating a context for argument in mathematics. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 30(2), 171–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Yore, L. D. (2009). Science literacy for all—more than a logo or rally flag! Proceedings of International Science Education Conference 2009 (pp. 2393–2427). Singapore, Singapore: National Institute of Education.Google Scholar
  31. Yore, L. D., Bisanz, G. L. & Hand, B. (2003). Examining the literacy component of science literacy: 25 years of language arts and science research. International Journal of Science Education, 25(6), 689–725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Yore, L. D., Florence, M. K., Pearson, T. W. & Weaver, A. J. (2006). Written discourse in scientific communities: A conversation with two scientists about their views of science, use of language, role of writing in doing science, and compatibility between their epistemic views and language. International Journal of Science Education, 28(2/3), 109–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yore, L. D., Pimm, D. & Tuan, H. L. (2007). The literacy component of mathematical and scientific literacy [Special Issue]. International Journal of Science and Math Education, 5(4), 559–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huey-Por Chang
    • 1
  • Chin-Chang Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gwo-Jen Guo
    • 2
  • Yeong-Jin Cheng
    • 3
  • Chen-Yung Lin
    • 4
  • Tsung-Hau Jen
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsNational Changhua University of EducationChanghuaTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Guidance and CounselingNational Changhua University of EducationChanghuaTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Life ScienceNational Taiwan Normal UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  4. 4.Graduate Institute of Science EducationNational Taiwan Normal UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

Personalised recommendations