How Does Coursework Based Study Affect the Learning of Pupils in Secondary Science Education?

Gerrard, Edward (2010) How Does Coursework Based Study Affect the Learning of Pupils in Secondary Science Education? PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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The GCSE science syllabus and curriculum changed considerably between 2005 and 2008. A key specification of coursework which had been identified as encouraging routine completion was replaced, requiring coursework to be completed under exam conditions, while a vocational alternative with increased coursework content was also introduced. I set out in this PhD study, as a 'researching teacher', to ascertain the attitudes of pupils and teachers to GCSE science coursework, and whether there exist any differences in pupil attainment linked to the reform of coursework and GCSE examination. I also have looked at how pupils learn in science through completing coursework as part of an evaluation of the effectiveness of coursework in the GCSE science curriculum. This thesis takes the form of a case study comprising reflecting a practitioner based enquiry using mixed methods methodology. It is therefore an integrated longitudinal design combining qualitative and quantitative methods. Qualitative data was elicited from interviews, questionnaires, observation and field notes. Quantitative analyses were undertaken of pupil performance in coursework and examination results. Key research findings include confirmation that many pupils in the case study preferred a coursework based approach to their science education, and they found they learned more from this approach. Pupils were also found to prefer learning when a constructivist model of teaching and learning was adopted in the classroom. Active learning led to improvements in understanding and completing coursework. Additional analysis of quantitative data showed that many pupils achieved Significantly better grades for their science coursework than they did through examinations. Further, the data revealed when coursework can be improved using an assessment-based approach to learning, and that there Were no Significant statistical differences between boys and girls in coursework and examination results. The research revealed that when coursework for GCSE science is reviewed and improved as part of a constructivist model of learning, there is a positive contribution to attainment levels in the GCSE examination. Furthermore, there is a need to consider how the format of that coursework ensure it does not encourage routine completion, but instead encourages assessment for learning, active learning and individual responsibility for learning. The thesis, overall, represents a personal, scholarly and professional engagement in understanding the work of teaching GCSE science.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Science Study and teaching (Secondary)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Depositing User: Phil Davis
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2016 11:50
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 21:34

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