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School-based assessment of practical work in science education in Solomon Islands

This study explored and documented the views of one science curriculum development officer and seven science teachers about science practical work and its assessment in the School-Based Assessment (SBA) for the Solomon Islands School Certificate (SISC). Science SBA is compulsory for all Form 4 (year 10) and 5 (year 11) students in Solomon Islands to undertake as internal assessment towards the SISC. The motivation behind the research questions for this study arose from literature discussions and my personal experiences associated with practical work, teaching, learning and assessment in science education. Based on the interpretive paradigm, qualitative data was generated using a semi-structured interview technique, conducted on an individual basis with prior consent. The interviews were conducted in May 2009. Audio tape recording was used to record exactly what was said by the participants in the Pidgin and later translated, transcribed and verified in English. The analysis of the data was recursive with a rigorous thematic approach. The findings indicated that participants' beliefs and views about the aims of science teaching and the roles of practical work were mainly related to the notion of science literacy, which is the main aim in the Solomon Islands science curriculum for Forms 4 and 5. However, the participants' views about the nature of science and assessment of practical work in the context of SBA were narrowly expressed. The findings indicated that the issues of reliability, validity and use of formative and summative assessments in relation to the theories of learning and the standardization of assessments for high stakes reporting are worth considering for a revision of the science SBA. As such, this study suggested that coherence in the aims of science teaching, the roles of practical work and the design and implementation of the SBA is necessary. Also, the notion of science pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is recommended, especially with regards to its inclusion in pre-service teacher education and ongoing professional development. This study was qualitative with a small sample limited to only eight educator participants. Hence, further research is recommended. This should specifically investigate students' perceptions in order to understand their standpoints on issues related to the science school-based assessment (SBA) for the Solomon Islands School Certificate (SISC).
Type of thesis
Kakai, L. C. (2010). School-based assessment of practical work in science education in Solomon Islands (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/4303
The University of Waikato
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