Violated assumptions? Exploring the challenges of a cognitive acceleration programme.

Backhouse, Anita (2017) Violated assumptions? Exploring the challenges of a cognitive acceleration programme. In: European Science Education Research Association, 21-25 August 2017, Dublin.

Violated assumptions? Exploring the challenges of a cognitive acceleration programme
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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
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This small-scale qualitative study focusses on a four-year funded science intervention programme, Let’s Think Secondary Science (LTSS). LTSS is based on the Cognitive Acceleration through Science Education (CASE) approach which was adopted in the published programme Thinking Science (Adey, Shayer & Yates, 1995). Improvements in pupil attainment were attributed to the CASE approach (Adey & Shayer, 1990) and also more recently (Oliver & Venville, 2016). Shayer (1999) posits some assumptions for effective intervention using this approach, two of which are: 1. That the teachers are skilled in the CASE pedagogy and have experience of teaching formal reasoning in science and 2. The pupils have the opportunity to witness formal reasoning by their peers (Shayer, 1999). A report by Shayer, Ginsburg and Coe (2007) suggested that UK pupils’ reasoning ability declined between 1975 and 2003 and this may have implications for the LTSS programme. Indications at the outset of LTSS revealed that the science teachers were reporting difficulties with the lessons from both their own and their pupils’ perspectives. In order to explore the situation in more depth, this research involved the collection of interview data from the PD tutors (n=5) and project teachers (n=10). Preliminary analysis is suggesting that issues with staffing and the school environment, a lack of teacher skills in implementing the intervention in some areas of formal reasoning and limited pupil engagement affected the extent to which the CASE approach could be implemented. As a result, some of the assumptions put forward by Shayer (1999) for effective implementation of the CASE approach might not have been realised. This suggests that there is scope for further support for formal reasoning in science before pupils move into the secondary phase and a need for more focused professional development for teachers, particularly in the area of mathematical and statistical reasoning.

Keywords:cognitive acceleration, professional development
Subjects:X Education > X130 Training Teachers - Secondary
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
ID Code:35990
Deposited On:20 May 2019 08:04

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