Is a Direct Approach to Student-Level Engagement Factors the Crucial Missing Link in Science Education Reform? An International Perspective with New Zealand As a Case in Point

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Exploring the content, focus and emphasis in science education reform in first world and developing countries, this paper argues that the lack of a direct approach to and inclusion of student-level related factors is a fundamental weakness of such reform initiatives. These reform initiatives in the United States of America, China, Japan, England and Europe have focused primarily on issues related to curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, and teacher training, retraining and professional development as well as resources. In general, these programmes have not been successful, especially for minority and disadvantaged students. Notwithstanding the importance of the content and pedagogical factors just mentioned, research reveals that student-related factors are usually assessed but are never addressed directly. Using the findings for New Zealand in the TIMSS 2002/2003 study as well as information from PISA studies, this paper identifies significant student-level related factors such as academic self-efficacy, academic task-value, interest in science, and motivation orientations that were related to science achievement outcomes and science reform initiatives in New Zealand. Thus identified, statistical analyses showed that these student-level factors were significantly related to science reform initiatives in New Zealand and to science achievement in particular: confirming the argument for their inclusion in future science reform initiatives.


Keywords: Science Education Reform, Motivation, Self-Efficacy, Academic Task-Value, Interest & Achievement
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Is a Direct Approach to Student-level Engagement Factors the Crucial Missing Link in Science Education Reform? An International Perspective with New Zealand as a Case in Point


Dr. W. Marc Jackman

Assistant Professor, School for Studies in Learning, Cognition & Education, The University of Trinidad & Tobago
Valsayn Campus, Curepe, Trinidad and Tobago

Dr. W. Marc Jackman is an Assistant Professor at the University of Trinidad & Tobago. He lectures and coordinates psychology courses for the B.ed programme of the university. These courses included Educational Psychology, Human Development and Adolescent Psychology. He earned His PhD, as a Commonwealth scholar, from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. His research interests include achievement motivation, self-regulated learning and enhancing achievement outcomes and understanding in science.

Prof. Michael A. R. Townsend

Professor of Educational Psychology, School of Education at Albany
Massey University College of Education, Massey University

Northshore, Auckland, New Zealand

Professor Townsend has teaching and research interests in educational psychology. Dr Townsend is interested in field of educational psychology, with particular interest in: learning in classrooms, reading comprehension, children’s friendships, motivation, gifted and talented, special education and sport psychology.

Ref: L09P1705