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The limited success student in science : a survey of current practices in teaching junior secondary science in British Columbia Healy, Peter Sinclair Davis

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to: 1. Determine the status of current practices used in the teaching of science to limited success students in B.C. junior secondary schools; 2. Compare the current practices in B.C. with those advocated in the literature from other countries; 3. Produce a set of recommendations for the improvement of science education for limited success students. A mail questionnaire was developed, based on the information gained in a literature review of the teaching of limited success students. The questionnaire was distributed to a selected sample of 336 junior science teachers in the Province of B.C. Eighty-two percent of the sampled teachers (299) responded to the questionnaire. Teachers responded to questionnaire items on: student grouping practices; class size; curricula; methods of content determination; approaches to learning; student evaluation; teacher background and teacher experience. The results of the responses were reported as frequency of response and percentage response. Results provided a picture of current practices in B.C. as perceived by the teachers sampled. A comparison was made between the practices currently in use in B.C. (as teachers perceived them) and practices advocated in other countries (particularly Britain and the United States) as reported in the literature review. Based upon the comparison between current practices in B.C. and those practices advocated in the literature, three major conclusions were arrived at: 1. A significantly large population of limited success students exists in B.C. junior secondary schools; 2. A general awareness of the existence of a population of limited success students in B.C. is evident; 3. Few special science programs have been developed for limited success students in B.C. Most junior secondary science teachers perceive the present recommended curriculum to be largely inappropriate for instructing limited success students. In addition to the conclusions listed above a further sixteen recommendations were generated relating to the following: science curriculum; teachers and school administration; teacher training and further research.

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