ERIC Number: ED363497
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
The Impact of External Examinations on Science Teaching.
O'Shea, Thomas; Wideen, Marvin F.
Province-wide school-leaving examinations had been an integral part of education in British Columbia (Canada) until 1973 when they were abandoned for a period of 10 years and reintroduced in 1983. This study investigated the effects of the grade 12 examinations in secondary science, and of science assessments conducted in grade 10. Researchers observed and videotaped classes of 24 teachers from 2 different school districts. Teachers and administrators were also interviewed. Results indicate that final examination at the grade 12 level did have a strong effect on teaching at that level and these examinations as they are conducted are not mere indicators of performance. Specifically, several teachers of grades 8 and 10 reported that the grade 12 exams had little or no effect on their teaching, while grade 12 teachers consistently reported the opposite. Moreover, any exemplary science teaching observed by the researchers took place in the lower grades; by contrast, straight lecturing, non-involvement by students, and an emphasis on tests and testing characterized the grade 12 classroom, where the prevalent question heard was, "will this be on the exam?" The study concludes that the grade 12 examination tends to freeze innovative teaching practices, that this augurs badly for improved teaching in the high schools, and that improvement can only come from teachers who feel some freedom to experiment and take risks. (PR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Ottawa (Ontario).
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada