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Challenging motivated upper secondary science students

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Presentation at ESERA 2007 by Ton van der Valk and Harrie Eijkelhof

Presentation at ESERA 2007 by Ton van der Valk and Harrie Eijkelhof

Published in Education , Technology
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  • 1. JUNIOR COLLEGE UTRECHT : Challenging Motivated Upper Secondary Science Students
    • Ton van der Valk and Harrie Eijkelhof FIsme, Utrecht University
    • [email_address] [email_address]
    • www.jcu.uu.nl
  • 2. Outline
    • Junior College Utrecht
    • The JCU characteristics
    • Research questions
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Conclusion and discussion
    • Recommendations
  • 3. Junior College Utrecht
    • Utrecht University + 26 partner schools
    • 2 years of pre-university science and maths education (grade 11 and 12)
    • Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology + enrichment modules
    • Selection of science motivated students
    • Now 100 students
    • Lessons on Monday and Tuesday
    • 1st and 2nd cohort passed national exams
  • 4. Goals of Junior College Utrecht
    • To offer an interesting and challenging science education programme to talented and motivated students (age 16 – 18)
    • To provide a working place to partner schools for innovation of their science and maths curricula
    •  In this study: focus on goal 1
  • 5. Research questions
    • Was JCU successful in providing an interesting and challenging science curriculum to its students?
    • Which JCU-characteristics were main determinants for its success?
  • 6. The JCU characteristics
    • Accelerated pace
      • Syllabuses covered in 60% of usual time
    • Enriched programme
      • Modules such as ‘nanoscience’; seminars
    • Research oriented
      • Assignments such as JCU thesis
    • Similarly disposed peers
    • Approach by teachers
      • Tuned to interests and capacities of students
    • JCU atmosphere
      • Student initiatives are appreciated
  • 7. Methods
    • Questionnaire to the grade 12 group
      • Mark the curriculum on a 1 – 10 scale
      • Would you opt for JCU again?
      • Subjects interesting and challenging?
    • Various evaluation questionnaires on modules and thesis
      • items on interesting and challenging
    • General questionnaire
      • ‘ meaningfulness’ and ‘competence’
      • Influence of curriculum characteristics
  • 8. Results 1
    • Curriculum mark: (grade 12)
    • 8.07 (s.d. 0.643; N = 48)
    • Opt for JCU again ? (grade 12)
    • 45 yes; 2 yes and no; 1 no (N= 48)
    • Challenging and interesting :
      • grade 12 11
      • General 4.30
      • Chemistry 3.44 3.75
      • Physics 3.58 3.77
      • Maths 3.66 3.80
      • Biology 3.90 4.30
      • Modules 3.45 4.31
      • Thesis 4.22
  • 9. Results 2 students experienced meaningfulness and competence 3,62* 4,10* 4, 02 3,83 competence 3,93 3,82 3,74* 3,98* meaningful Girls n=31) Boys (n=44) Grade 12 (36) Grade 11 (38)
  • 10. Results 3: effect of characteristics
    • All characteristics contributed to the success of JCU
    • JCU atmosphere (the most)
    • Enrichment
    • Approach by teachers
    • Research directed
    • Similarly disposed peers
    • Accelerated (the least)
    4,12 4,04 atmosphere 3,53 3,87 accelerated competence meaningful
  • 11. Discussion
    • JCU atmosphere includes social activities and content activities
    • ‘ Accelerated’ has two sides: opportunities for enrichment and high pace
    • Similar peers: challenging or discouraging
    • Big differences between students
  • 12. Conclusions
    • JCU was successful in providing an interesting and challenging curriculum
    • All six characteristics contributed to the success, but ‘atmosphere’ the most; ‘accelerated’ the least
    • Some modules are good; some others have to be improved
  • 13. Recommendations
    • Keep and reinforce JCU atmosphere
    • Keep some modules and the thesis
    • Thoroughly improve some other modules
    • Find a better balance between ‘acceleration’ and ‘enrichment’
    • To some students this balance can be different from other students: so differentiation within JCU is needed