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Science education needs improvement

author:Science Media Centre

Science education needs improvement ? report

Posted in In the News on May 2nd, 2012.

A report released today by the Education Review Office shows that only 27 percent of schools have highly effective or generally effective science programmes for Years 5 to 8 students.

The report presents the findings of team of reviewers who evaluated the quality and effectiveness of science teaching in 100 New Zealand schools. They observed lessons in Years 5 to 8 classes, analysed documents, and met with senior managers, trustees, teachers and students, and assessed each school?s approach to science education based on the set of
good practice indicators.

The results showed that only three percent of the 100 schools had science programmes that were considered to be ?highly effective? and 73 percent were determined to be ?not effective? or only ?partially effective?.

You can read the full report here, and see features of effective and non-effective science programmes, as determined by the report, below.

The report is the latest of several undertaken by the office to evaluate teaching and learning of science in primary schools since 2004. The ERO concluded that science teaching and education has not improved since 2004, despite revisions to the New Zealand Curriculum placing an increased focus on integrating the Nature of Science strand.

?We are not giving our children the best opportunity to build on their excitement about discovering the world around them,? said Dr Graham Stoop, Chief Review Officer for the Education Review Office. ?We need to improve the way we teach science to our young children to help them succeed in an economy increasingly based on knowledge and innovation.?

ERO?s report makes a number of recommendations including investigating how well initial teacher education equips primary school teachers to teach science and what opportunities for support and ongoing professional learning development are available for teachers. 2012