ASSESSING CHEMISTRY-LEARNING COMPETENCIES OF STUDENTS IN ISOLATED RURAL SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS BY USING THE NATIONAL EXAMINATION: A CASE STUDY OF SIMEULUE ISLAND, INDONESIA
This study explored learning competency based on the Indonesian National Examination focusing especially on chemistry performance and the circumstances of senior high school students and teachers in rural areas of Simeulue Island, Indonesia. The National Examination total score and chemistry score for students in rural areas were consistently lower than students in urban areas during 2008–2010. The majority of rural students were failing to master key chemistry concepts. Their low performance on laboratory-based questions appeared to indicate that the associated practical work was not done as part of the chemistry courses. Some chemistry topics were not taught due to insufficient time, student weaknesses, insufficient textbooks, and other reasons. The issues of low competency of teachers, poverty for the majority of students, low enrollment in schools, and low competition among students in these rural senior high schools appeared to be common problems across rural settings. The local government has recommended providing a consolidated rural high school with qualified chemistry teachers, laboratories, and transportation to address factors negatively influencing student achievement. Furthermore, local rural school officials need to recruit and retain qualified teachers in these isolated areas, provide effective textbooks and instructional resources, and facilitate the professional development of chemistry teachers.
KEY WORDSchemistry achievement Indonesia national examinations rural isolated schools
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