The observation competence of grade six science students

Sheppard, Carl Norman (1991) The observation competence of grade six science students. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

The primary goal of this study was to examine the ability of grade six students with the science process skill and critical thinking skill of observation. Twenty-four students were interviewed as they worked through a series of science activities that required them to make and report observations. Their reports were analyzed using the various conditions of observation competence in a model by Norris (1984). This model lists various conditions which facilitate good observation. Factors such as the observer being alert, having theoretical understanding, and using precise methods are the types of conditions that are included. -- The typical grade six student was found to be considerably lacking in observation ability when probed with non-leading questions. Among the weaknesses, there was a general lack of alertness, theoretical understanding, and poor competence in reporting observations in a record. However, in response to leading questions, there was a much more satisfactory level of competence, except for the area of theoretical understanding which showed no leading probe effect. -- Students' reports were used to produce qualitative descriptions of the typical student, as well as of three individuals who represent an average observer, an above-average observer and a below-average observer. These individual descriptions detail specifically the level of proficiency each student possesses with each category of observation competence, and provides illustrations of how the students displayed this competence in their responses to questions and in their behaviours while conducting the activities.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/6641
Item ID: 6641
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [173]-177.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1991
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Science--Study and teaching (Elementary)--Newfoundland and Labrador

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