IMPROVING ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF SCIENCE LEARNERS IN RURAL SCHOOLS THROUGH ASSESSMENT PRACTICES: A SOUTH AFRICAN CASE STUDY

TitleIMPROVING ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF SCIENCE LEARNERS IN RURAL SCHOOLS THROUGH ASSESSMENT PRACTICES: A SOUTH AFRICAN CASE STUDY
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsZenda, R, Ferreira, JG
JournalJournal of Baltic Science Education
Volume15
Issue4
Start Page523–531
PaginationContinuous
Date PublishedAugust/2016
Type of ArticleOriginal article
ISSN1648-3898
Other NumbersICID: 1217815
Keywordscase study; improving science achievement; physical sciences assessment; rural schools
Abstract

This research was embarked on to explore the underperformance of Physical Sciences learners and the subsequent increasing unpopularity of the subject in South African rural schools. As poor academic achievement in science is a concern in many countries and not only in South Africa, qualitative research was undertaken to determine whether assessment can contribute to the improvement of learners’ academic achievement in this particular school subject. The research uses the Cultural and Historical Activity Theory as theoretical lens to analyse how assessment can improve the academic achievement of learners. Data were collected by means of face-to-face interviews with teachers, school principals and subject advisers, the “community” as advocated by the Activity Theory, while focus-group interviews were held with the learners who are the “subjects” in the Activity Theory. Verbatim findings highlight the views of participants and reveal that though efforts are made to incorporate a variety of informal assessment methods, key issues such as poor formulation of questions, weak comprehension skills and unsatisfactory interpretation of questions, remain a problem. Based on these findings, recommendations for improvement are proposed.

URLhttp://journals.indexcopernicus.com/abstract.php?icid=1217815
Refereed DesignationRefereed
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