9-13 July 2012
Africa/Johannesburg timezone
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Correlation between first year physics students’ understanding of the nature of science (NOS) and their academic performance

Presented by Mr. Vonani BALOYI on 11 Jul 2012 from 16:30 to 16:50
Type: Oral Presentation
Session: Education
Track: Track E - Physics Education


The research on teachers’ and students’ conception of NOS conducted since 1950 indicates that different student populations in different contexts have naïve understanding of NOS. This study seeks to examine how the change in first year Physics students’ NOS conceptions correlates with their academic performance at university level. The NOS and scientific inquiry are regarded as essential components of scientific literacy. This study will focus on five features of NOS considered as Benchmarks for Science Literacy and the National Science Education standards. They include understanding that scientific knowledge is: tentative (subject to change); empirically based (based on and/or derived from observations of the natural world); subjective (influenced by scientists’ background, experiences, and biases); partly the product of human imagination and creativity (involves the invention of explanations); and socially and culturally embedded (the distinctions between observations and inferences, and the functions of, and relationships between, scientific theories and laws). This talk will focus on the results of a preliminary study in which the academic performance of volunteer Physics students is compared to their score on the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) test and the Views on Nature of Science Questionnaire (VNOSQ) coupled with modified questions from Views on Science-Technology-Society (VOSTS) questionnaire. A future study will focus on the effect of practical experiments on a students’ understanding of the NOS. The details of this experiment will be expanded on in the talk.






Dr Walter Meyer; walter.meyer@up.ac.za; University of Pretoria



Primary authors